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Who will win the ISL final - Kerala Blasters or Hyderabad FC?

9:00 AM IST 20/03/22
GFX Ogbeche Luna Hyderabad Kerala Blasters ISL 2021-22 final
Kerala Blasters are heading into the final at the back of a five-match unbeaten run...

The ISL (Indian Super League) final is set to be contested between Kerala Blasters and Hyderabad FC on Sunday evening at the Fatorda Stadium, in Goa. While the Nizams will be making their debut appearance in a final, it will be the third time for Blasters.

The Yellow Army qualified for the knockouts after five years under the guidance of Serbian coach Ivan Vukomanovic. Although they did not have a bright start to their league campaign after they went down 4-2 to ATK Mohun Bagan in the tournament opener, they went on to stitch together a 10-match unbeaten run following that defeat.

Their front four of Adrian Luna, Alvaro Vazquez, Jorge Pereyra, and Sahal Abdul Samad have been in scintillating form and were pivotal in their success. Out of the 34 goals scored by Blasters this season, 28 of them have been scored by these four. However, they will be without the services of Sahal in the final as the midfielder is nursing a hamstring injury.

On the other hand, Hyderabad have been consistent throughout the competition. They were en-route to win the league shield but their 3-0 loss to Jamshedpur FC in the penultimate match of the league stage cost them dearly. However, they have a chance to redeem themselves by lifting the ISL trophy and qualify for the AFC Cup playoffs.

All eyes will be on their talismanic striker Bartholomew Ogbeche who has been in scorching form. With 18 goals and still counting he is set to win the golden boot this season. He also boasts of having the best goal/minute (89.78) ratio in the league. If he goes on to score one more, he will create a record of most goals in a single season, overtaking former FC Goa player Ferran Corominas.

Let us take a look at some of the facts involving these two teams which might help us in determining the winner between the two.

  • Hyderabad FC are the eighth different team to reach the Indian Super League finals. Only three of the seven previous franchises to have reached this stage have won the final on their debut appearance (ATK in 2014, Chennaiyin FC in 2015 and Mumbai City FC in 2020-21).
  • No player has created more big chances in the current edition of the Indian Super League than Kerala Blasters FC’s Adrian Luna (10), three more than next best players on the list – Greg Stewart and Roshan Singh (7).
  • No player has saved more shots from inside the box than Hyderabad FC custodian Laxmikant Kattimani (42); his total saves tally of 57 in the Indian Super League this season is second only to ATK Mohun Bagan’s Amrinder Singh (58).
  • Kerala Blasters FC will be playing their third Indian Super League final, making them the third franchise to achieve this feat after ATK and Chennaiyin. The Tuskers are also one of the only two sides to have lost two ISL finals (FC Goa, also two) and a loss on Sunday would make them the only side in league history to have lost three ISL finals.
  • Kerala Blasters FC enter the game on the back of a five-game unbeaten run (W3 D2). The Tuskers have kept two clean sheets and conceded more than once on just one occasion during this run.

(Stat Credit: Opta Jeev)