Delhi Dynamos will look to complete a hat-trick when they square off against Atletico de Kolkata in match 47 of Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday evening.
Atletico de Kolkata are placed third in the league table with 17 points from 11 games and are certainly favourites going into the match but their performances in recent fixtures have left a lot to be desired with their last away victory coming against FC Goa on October 23.
Delhi Dynamos remain in the hunt for a top four place and are currently fifth with 13 points from 11 games and a win against the Kolkata side will get them straight into the top four making them a serious contender for a place in the semi-finals. The Dynamos now need to win at least two of their remaining three league matches.
The last time the two sides met at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata both teams had played out a 1-1 draw.
Delhi Dynamos had spent quite some time at the bottom half of the table but notched up two back-to-back victories to keep themselves in the semifinal contention. Delhi are fresh from their 4-1 routing of Mumbai City FC at home.
Coach Harm van Veldhoven has expressed his thoughts on their current run of form and was more than impressed with his sides clinical display last time around against Mumbai City FC.
Delhi are struggling with injuries, but will be boosted by the return of Alessandro Del Piero who has recovered from a stomach problem. However it seems unlikely he will return to the starting eleven. Delhi Dynamos will be without Wim Raymaekers and Pavel Elias for the tournament and Bruno Arias could be a big doubt as well as he is still recovering from an injury.
Skipper Hans Mulder has played a crucial role in the Delhi midfield. Getting on to the score sheet in the previous match will have helped Mulder’s confidence ahead of this important clash. Brazilian Gustavo Dos Santos has been in tremendous form and is leading the Delhi attack alongside Danish striker Mads Junker. Wingers Steven Dias and Shylo have also done well. Francis Fernandes has troubled the opposition defenders playing at the tip of the attack and it will be interesting to see how Kolkata respond to Delhi’s swift movement and interchange of positions. Goalkeeper Van Hout has been in exceptional form of late and will be looking to keep his fourth clean sheet against a potent Kolkata attack.
Atletico de Kolkata:
Atletico de Kolkata are coming from a 1-1 draw against FC Pune City. Kolkata will once again depend heavily on their marquee player Luis Garcia along with fellow Spanish midfielders Borja Fernandes and Jofre.
Cavin Lobo has been ruled out for the rest of the ISL and Denzil Franco will remain sidelined due to injury concerns adding to their woes up front. Lester Fernandez should be back after being dropped for the last game. Kolkata will be boosted with the return of midfielder Ofentse Nato to the team and alongside Jofre Matheu should give a start in attack.
Coach Antonio Habas has said that the absence of striker Fikru due to suspension was a factor in the side’s four-game winless run earlier in the season.
Harm van Veldhoven:
“We are playing better and better every game. There are only three games left before the semifinals, so we have to win and obtain the vital three points. We are currently two points behind the number four spot where we would like to be”
“Kolkata is a very good and powerful team but we also have our qualities. We know about their physical strength and this is one of the things we talked about with our players. Our players don’t have to play too much in the air and they have to keep the ball on the ground. With strong players it is essential to use our speed and our players are smart enough to do that”
Antonio López Habas:
“Our previous encounter with Delhi was our third game and it was their second game. Both teams have played many games since then but we are still expecting the same tough game from the Delhi side. This is an important game for us and we will try to get the three points. They are a good team and I like the way they play. ”
“Our players are professional and we don’t worry about playing home or away. We perform in the same way whether home or away. Getting the three points is what is important.”
Recent Form (Most Recent First):
Delhi Dynamos: WWLLD
Atletico de Kolkata: DLWDL
Possible starting lineups:
Delhi Dynamos: Van Hout, S. Houben , A. Ali , M. Lugun , Thockchom Singh, Francis Fernandez , Shylo Malsawmatulanga , Hans Mulder , Dinis , Mads Junker , Dos Santos
Atletico de Kolkata: A.Edel, Arnab Mondal, R. Masih, Josemi , Nallappan Mohanraj , Jofre Mateu , Kingshuk Debnath , Borja Fernandes , Luis Garcia , Baljit Sahni , Fikru Teferra
Delhi Dynamos 1 – 2 Atletico de Kolkata
Picture Courtesy: Goal