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ISL semi-final 1st leg: Kerala coach Steve Coppell calls for fresh start

Kerala Blasters FC players warm up before the start of the match 56 of the Indian Super League (ISL) season 3 between Kerala Blasters FC and NorthEast United FC held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, India on the 4th December 2016. Photo by Vipin Pawar / ISL / SPORTZPICS

Kochi [India], Dec. 10 (ANI): Kerala Blasters coach Steve Coppell has warned his team that their past record in the Indian Super League (ISL) will count for nothing as they attempt to set aside the challenge of Delhi Dynamos in first leg of the semi-finals at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.

Kerala Blasters have won five consecutive matches at home where they enjoy massive support but as they prepare for an important clash, Coppell knows they have to start afresh.

“What’s happened in the past doesn’t equal the future. We got victories because we worked hard and scored goals at the right moment. Because we have done it in the past, there is no guarantee we will do it again,” warned Coppell.

Interestingly, Kerala Blasters have never defeated Delhi Dynamos at home. In three matches since 2014, Kerala lost one game and drew the other two, including one in this edition.

“We have to reprove ourselves. This is a different competition. It’s not a league format, it’s a cup competition and we have to adapt accordingly. Whatever happens after the first game, it isn’t over. We have to change our strategy just a little bit,” Coppell insisted.

Kerala may have been strong at home winning five matches in a row but the worry will be their poor scoring record. They have scored just 13 goals so far, the joint fewest by any team along with FC Pune City.

Having scored just four goals in the first eight games they have managed to score nine goals in their last six matches, with striker CK Vineeth scoring five of those since returning from Bengaluru FC.

Meanwhile, Delhi Dynamos have been among the more impressive teams in ISL and coach Zambrotta can be expected to make it tough for their opponents, having kept three clean sheets away from home, a record which only Mumbai City FC (4) have managed to better.

“Usually when we play against Kerala, we are well aware that it’s a difficult game, predominantly because of the strong support they have at the stadium. But we as a team will try and play our best, the way we generally play and we hope to play a very good game against Kerala,” said Zambrotta.

Delhi Dynamos will play their second-leg fixture at home and Zambrotta believes it will be advantageous for them to get the result they need in front of their own supporters.

“Yes of course it will be an advantage to play the second leg at home as it will help us mentally to play in front of home support,” said Zambrotta.(ANI)