Kochi: Maharasthra will look to continue with their fine form when they take on Kerala in the first semifinal of the 67th Santosh Trophy at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.
After a rather lackluster qualifying round that saw just one win from three matches, Maharasthra have managed to register strong performances with wins against Jharkhand (4-1) and Goa (3-0). The momentum was too strong for even Tamil Nadu to handle as Maharashtra won their quarterfinal tie 2-1. Their opponent though will look to make the most of home conditions.
Kerala fans are known to back their team to the hilt and coach M.M Jacob is hoping it tilts the odds in his favour. (Adjoining image courtesy AIFF)
"The home support here is tremendous. Kerala is known for vociferous crowds. They'll yell their lungs out for the locals and in a semifinal clash. I can imagine how it will be. Needless to say this will be our biggest strength and we will look to cash on it. I don't want to disappoint the supporters," he said.
Jacobs though is wary of the Maharashtra team and their prowess. "Having said that, Maharashtra are a good team. They are in good form and will be more than a handful."
For the hosts, key midfielder Rakesh K -- nursing an injury -- will be unavailable for match while captain Rahul P is a doubtful starter.