New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) Acknowledging the tall order they are faced with, Delhi Dynamos marquee player-coach Roberto Carlos identified Chennaiyin FC as “one of the favourite” teams of the India Super League (ISL) and warned his side of expecting a backbreaking evening when the two teams meet here on Thursday.
Dynamos, who lost to FC Goa in their first match, play at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium against Chennayin, who also lost their first match — against title holders Atletico de Kolkata.
However, the team from southern India, guided by 2006 FIFA World Cup winner, Italian Marco Materazzi, reached the semi-final last season and possess enough quality in the squad to go one better this time.
“Chennayin were the semi-finalists of the last tournament and this season also they have a great team. They are one of the favourites of the ISL,” Carlos said at the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
However, the 2002 World Cup winner, regarded one of the best left-backs in football’s history, is also optimistic his players will pose a formidable challenge for the visitors.
“It will be a keenly contested match. I also have a great team and tomorrow’s match will be one of the best matches of the competition,” Carlos, who spent his peak time at Real Madrid and won four La Liga and three European Champions League with the Spanish powerhouse, predicted.
The Brazilian, capped 125-times by his country, also said that his wards will try to avoid repeating the mistakes committed against Goa. “Mistakes happen during a match and I am not the type of manager who holds the player responsible for the flaws and the loss. We have trained hard and hopefully the younger players will put up a good show tomorrow,” the 42-year-old, two-time runner-up in the ‘FIFA World Player of the Year’ award, pointed.
Channayin assistant coach Vivek Nagul said that they must improve their game following their heart-breaking loss. Nagul specifically said their defensive unit needed to raise its level.
He also said that in the absence of Indian international striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who is away on national duty, the team will need goals from Mohun Bagan’s Balwant Singh and Mumbai FC’s Jayesh Rane.
He also revealed Ethiopian goal-scorer Fikru Teferra is still not fully fit even after playing through pain in the first match. They plan to field him strategically according to the situation of the game.
When asked about the possibility of fielding defender Materazzi to shore up their defence, Nagul suggested he doesn’t foresee the 42-year-old Italian taking to the field in this competition. “Last year, he was very good and helped the team play well but this year he will be at the dugout.”