Kerala Blasters’ chances of making it to the playoffs are hanging by a thread while Odisha will now need a mathematical miracle to break into the top four of the Indian Super League (ISL). The latter will hence be looking to make it as difficult as possible for the teams yet to face them to make it to the playoffs, starting with a match against Kerala at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday.
Kerala are on 15 points, eight behind fourth-placed Hyderabad FC with five matches left to play in the league season. Meanwhile, Odisha are exactly 15 points behind fourth place with five games left to play, which means that they need to win the rest of the matches that they have in hand while needing a host of results to go their way.
While bottom-placed Odisha are only one spot behind Kerala, the two teams are separated by seven points. They have won just one game all season but that victory did come against Kerala. Kerala, in fact, are yet to beat Odisha in any of their last three meetings.
They are winless in four games and have conceded the most goals this season (27). Odisha lie a close second on that table, having conceded 25 goals. The defensive issues faced by both teams are visible from the fact that Odisha has faced the maximum number of shots on target while Kerala have faced the second-most.
Kerala has to put in some encouraging displays in their last few games but have been unable to hold on to whatever advantage they managed to gain in the matches. In their last two games against ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC, Kerala suffered defeats despite opening the scoring. They have now dropped 16 points from winning positions this season.