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Did you know? Kerala Blasters' Sahal Abdul Samad has made the most dribbles this season in ISL

03:26 IST 22/12/2021
Sahal KBFC
Can Sahal bring out his best once again to defeat Chennaiyin?

Kerala Blasters made a statement by decimating Mumbai City FC in their last match in the ISL (Indian Super League). Sahal Abdul Samad, Alvaro Vazquez, and Jorge Diaz were on target as the Yellow Army got the better of the Islanders. However, in their next match, they face a Chennaiyin side which has been a tough nut to crack so far.

Under Bozidar Bandovic, they have established themselves as a disciplined side which hardly offers any space at the back. Serbian defender Slavko Damjanovic has been nothing short of a wall at the back and Narayan Das alongside him is also doing his job pretty well. Hence, it is no coincidence that Chennaiyin have the meanest defence in the league with just four goals conceded in six matches.

If Kerala Blasters want to pick up the three points from Wednesday's encounter then they must put their best foot forward. An combination of collective and individual brilliance might help them get over the line. And for inspiration, they have to look no further than their very own Sahal Abdul Samad.

The Keralite has been in brilliant form and his volleyed goal against Mumbai City FC has already been played over a million times on the streaming platforms. He is not only scoring goals but also showing skill and confidence in dribbling past defenders. In fact, no Indian player has completed more dribbles in the ISL this season than Sahal (12); he has also attempted 21 dribbles this campaign, again the most by an Indian.

Needless to say, that against Chennaiyin he will be a key weapon for Ivan Vukomanovic to unlock Chennaiyin's defence. His vision, coupled with his goal-scoring ability, can be lethal and it will not be surprising if the 24-year-old grabs headlines once again. One must note that Adrian Luna and Alvaro Vasquez are also in good nick and after toppling the league leaders, their confidence will be skyrocketing. It will be an interesting match-up between a rugged Chennaiyin and an emergent Blasters.

Let us now look at some of the interesting stats involving the two teams provided by Opta Jeev.

  1. Chennaiyin FC are unbeaten in their last four matches against Kerala Blasters FC (W2 D2), scoring twice the number of goals (10) than they conceded (5) in these games.
  2. Kerala Blasters FC have conceded only three goals in their last five Indian Super League games, the last time the Tuskers conceded fewer goals during a five-game span in the ISL was in October 2016.
  3. Chennaiyin FC custodian Vishal Kaith has a save percentage of 79% in the current ISL season, the most for any player to have faced at least 10 shots on target; Kaith has saved 15 of the 19 shots on target he’s faced this season.
  4. Chennaiyin FC are the team with the worst differential between expected goals *8.49 and actual goals scored (six) at the end of MD7 in the ongoing Indian Super League campaign (-2.49 xG value).
  5. No team has conceded fewer yellow cards in the Indian Super League this season than Kerala Blasters FC (7), in fact, they’re one of the only three teams to have conceded fewer than 10 yellow cards in the ISL this season (Mumbai City FC – 7, ATK Mohun Bagan – 8).