New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) Delhi Dynamos will aim to end their group phase commitments on a triumphant note when they face FC Goa in an inconsequential Indian Super League (ISL) football match as both teams have already qualified for the semi-finals. Dynamos, nevertheless, will have an added initiative after losing their first leg encounter 0-2 at Fatorda.
But since the loss, Dynamos have made rapid progress to qualify for the play-offs. FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos are placed second and third, respectively, on the points table with 22 points each but Goa are ahead with a better goal difference. The teams will eye the top spot but having already qualified for the semi-finals, the focus will be on preserving their best players for bigger challenges ahead.
“In our way of thinking, we will field the best players available, although a clear picture will emerge only after the (final) training session. Since the tournament is very short, we will want the best players not to get injured ahead of the semi-finals,” FC Goa assistant coach Fernando Vannucci said during the pre-match media briefing here on Saturday.
Vannucci, however, made it clear that the club had achieved its initial target of making it to the play-offs and now the competition would get even tougher. “We are now looking to be first or second so that we can have the advantage of playing the second game at home. In a tournament like the ISL which is so well balanced, we cannot choose any opponent. Every opponent is good and we respect all of them. You must not forget that last year, the final was played between the third and fourth placed team,” said Vannucci.
Goa will miss the services of Brazilian midfielder Leo Moura who picked up his fourth booking in the last game and remains suspended for the clash. Dynamos’ player-manager Roberto Carlos has already made it clear that he wants players fresh for the semi-finals. He rested strikers Robin Singh and Seminlen Doungel after achieving qualification against Kerala Blasters and looks set to continue with the trend.
“Against Goa, probably I won’t play (Florent) Malouda, Chicao, probably won’t use (Adil) Nabi, and I want some players to take a rest for the next phase,” Carlos had said earlier after the game against Blasters. “Step by step, the team is improving. For the next phase of the league, they will be better because they have spent so much time together. They know each other very well now and that should help them in the next phase,” said the Brazilian on Saturday.