Sachin Tendulkar was the face of Kerala Blasters since Indian Super League's first edition in 2014.
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Cross from the left, is shot wide. Referee thinks otherwise, awards another corner. He just did that to perfection under pressure from Soni. Pekuson tries to find a midfielder, but there's no one in sync with him. Many attacks in the box, but is defended. Corner to Girona, but Matej is down and the medics come running. Many hasn't been allowed free space by Anas, and he's not looked his devastating self in the last 10 mins.
Nogue is taking this one. Gimenez heads, but fails to target it right. They're just trying to catch the visitors on the wrong foot, and Prasanth is making those runs.
Corner to Girona after a shot is deflected wide. Are the fans looking at an upset? Jhingan clears a good, long ball with a diving header. Kumar takes it under possession. He's not afraid to come out of his line.
Cyril Kali, meanwhile, is down. Matej and Slavisa are being instructed by David James at the touchline. The assistant manager is passing instructions to Zakeer and Prasanth. Kumar to restart the game with a goalkick. Is yellow-carded, and free kick to Girona in an interesting position. Kizito makes a forward run, finds Prasanth. Good for a goalkeeper's confidence. Girona hasn't been as threatening, but the team is playing its second string. Rakip combines with Kizito, who tries to find Prasanth with a cross-field pass, but hits it too long.
All, coincidentally, in Girona's favour. Naveen Kumar tackles and makes a good save. Gimenez tries to curl one, but Kumar collects with ease. Prasantha is key to any counter-attack, and the team hopes he uses his pace right. It'll be adding to their growing confidence, and the more the merrier for the hosts at the moment.
Many, meanwhile, whistles past Anas to send a low cross in. The shot is marginally wide. Regaining fitness and confidence. Better from the Blasters. Another shot comes in, is over the Blasters' bar. They pass it back and allow their defenders to build it. The is slightly defensive, with Kerala and their wingers sitting deep.
They lose possession centrall. Many takes on Anas and Jhingan, and his shot is blocked for a corner. Slavisa's control ditches him, but the stadium cheers the attempt. Has seen a lot of the ball already down the left, and is also attempting his runs past players. Can they do it? Can they make the miracle happen? Jhingan, meanwhile, looks content to sit back as Girona's defence exchange passes. Kerala is getting cheered at almost every touch they take. Kali is wearing the No.
Cross comes in, the connected header is poor. Attack begins, but Slavisa fails to find Matej. Prasanth's tackle brings up a cheer. Anas is playing as right-back, while Jhingan starts at the back.
Will they swap, soon? Otherwise, it looks the way it is. Rakip at left back. Matej and Slavisa up top. This could be a regular as well.
Who will stand out in this game of football? The drums are in, and they really shake it up with the Viking clap! They're clapping, they're singing, they're doing everything they can to push the team forward! Kerala Blasters will need all of it, certainly against opposition of this quality. The customary photographs and handshakes are done as well. We're now set to see the real action. The Kerala substitutes are out as well.
The teams are also walking out and the Army lets out a cheer. They've got a new banner to back their side.
Will it bring them luck, something they will need tonight? The Manjappada is bouncing in the stands, right in front of us. It's a beautiful scene. It's passion, its unity and its pride. They probably know the end result, and nevertheless, they're here to back the team. Now that it's ending, we must thank India on Track and everyone who's been a part of this journey.
The contribution is debatable and is up for discussion, but history has been made. And once a new path is taken, it's easier to follow. In 10 years' time, who knows, Indians might get to see Real Madrid or Barcelona play friendlies. Hold that thought while Kerala's CM gives a speech. Kerala Chief Minister Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan is here. Unfortunately, Sachin Tendulkar could not make it to this game, but the Yellow flags show that they remain unperturbed by the absence.
Dheeraj strolls back to the tunnel, the last. Will he play a role, after letting in six in the last game? May happen later in the game. Both teams, with 20 mins to kick off, are receding into the tunnel.
The fans are hopeful, but Khel Now hopes know understand the gulf in class and the expectations are realistic. Anas and Jhingan, Kerala's favourite pair, is practising passes from distance to each other. We're sure the fans are enjoying their connection already. Girona players are practising shots, without a goalkeeper, but at the edges of the goal. It's effective, if it works on the pitch! The shooting drills are on. Kerala Blasters' players are being played on by Singto, and their hitting the target against Naveen.
Girona is back to practising in a small group. Kerala is now training in small passes in a small circle. Much needed drill against any Spanish side. On the contrary, Girona is now playing long balls in the other half of the pitch. Right in front of us, the Yellow Army is filling up the Manjappada stand! You announce a name, they cheer! That's how driven this Yellow Army is. Jhingan and Anas got the loudest cheers, expectedly. Anas and Cyril Kali look to don the role of central defenders tonight.
Jhingan and Rakip are expected to flank them. Has the team bettered its fitness from the last game? They're going through their paces at the moment, and assistant manager Thangboi Singto is passing instructions.
The Viking Clap is already in. Sandesh Jhingan and the rest of the team has already been acknowledged by the famed Yellow Army. Will the 12th man play a positive role tonight? Will their team score a goal? Will the home side show a better resolve this time around, or do we see a harsher result in the last match of the Toyota Yaris La Liga World?
Only time, and performance, will tell. Indian clubs can learn a great deal by just looking at how European clubs train. There is a lot to be learnt for Indian footballers, the system, and the trainers as well. Basics at every Spanish club, and exactly what Girona are doing at the moment. Both teams are out on the pitch. The Manjappada is already in, and their anthems are creating the right noises already. Girona, meanwhile, will continue their formation. It looks like Eusebio is going a little easy in this one, and is giving his younger players a run out.
The line-ups are out. Kerala Blasters are going with their full strength side, and it seems that they will line up in a system. Zakeer Mundampara will play in the dual pivot with Kizito at the heart of the midfield. Prasanth and Pekuson should be expected to flank the wings. Kerala Blasters Starting XI: This is your host Punit Tripathi, stay tuned and enjoy the commentary with Khel Now. Wounded Blasters face tough Spanish challenge. Already on Khel Now?
And we will never post anything without your permission. New to Khel Now? Remember Me Forgot Password. We noticed you are using an Ad Blocker, please consider whitelisting us - we cannot operate without adverts. Kerala Blasters Girona FC. For all latest news, photos, video highlights, reviews, editorial, tactical analysis from Toyota Yaris La Liga World sign up for Khel Now. The substitutes take their places on the bench for Girona. Sat Jul 28, What to do next. Khel Now has some suggestions.
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