ISL: Delhi, Mumbai aim to return to winning ways (Lead Preview)
New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) Delhi Dynamos and Mumbai City FC will be keen to return to winning ways when they meet in an Indian Super League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Tuesday.
Delhi Dynamos FC made a convincing start to the season, picking up a dominant victory over defending champions Chennaiyin FC 3-1 and have played two draws against Kerala Blasters FC and North East United FC, who sit at the top of the table with 10 points from five matches.
Delhi Dynamos are at the fourth position, having notched up five points in their three games.
Mumbai City FC are at the second position on the points table with seven points. They have won two, drawn one and lost one of their four games so far.
Mumbai had started with a flourish, winning their first two games and drawing the third but were grounded by Kerala Blasters in the last game.
Having suffered a narrow 1-0 to Kerala Blasters, they would be hoping to come out all guns blazing.
In the four matches against Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos FC have lost two matches in the first two editions, winning and drawing the other two.
Delhi’s head coach Gianluca Zambrotta would be expecting to add some respectability to that stat in the upcoming game, and would look to keep up the good work that his squad has shown in the opening matches.
Richard Gadze and Memo made a return to the starting XI in the last match for the Dynamos, with marquee player Florent Malouda starting at the bench for the second time in three games.
The former France international had started every game for the Lions last term but the coach said there’s nothing serious and the decision was a tactical one.
“Last year is last year. This year is very different. The decision with Malouda was a tactical one. Malouda is an important player for us, it was a tactical decision. There is no injury,” Zambrotta said.
Zambrotta asserted that Delhi could have defeated NorthEast if they had utilised their chances.
“We played a very good game against NorthEast United, if you consider that they are one of the best teams in the league. We had a lot of opportunities and of course we have to learn how we can utilise these opportunities,” he said.
“At the moment, I don’t think we have to change our strategy.”
The Italian World Cup winner, unlike his Mumbai counterpart, has retained the core of the squad for all three matches and he is unlikely to change that approach even if matches come thick and fast.
“For me, it’s important to have an identity,” said Zambrotta, whose team is unbeaten in the league so far.
The Delhi defence looks solid, having conceded only two goals in their three games. The midfield is clicking well with Marcos Tebar providing brilliant link-up options sitting deep and Milan Singh running hard at the opposition to thwart their attacks.
In the attack, Marcelinho and Kean Lewis are probably the best wing-pair in this ISL edition and they have created innumerable chances for their strikers Richard Gadze and Badara Badji.
Mumbai City FC have arrived in Delhi without their captain and talisman Diego Forlan. The former Manchester United striker has still not recovered from an injury and, according to Mumbai coach Alexandre Guimaraes, should be in playing condition for their next home clash against FC Goa.
Guimaraes though will not bother much about absentees. He has done well without several key players, either through injuries, international duty, or the four players who are on duty with Bengaluru FC in the AFC Cup semi-finals.
“I think Delhi Dynamos are doing well in the league. They try to play attractive football. They have shown they are a tough team. I hope we can have a good game,” the Costa Rican coach said.
Mumbai City FC have a battle on their hand for the next five matches as four will be away ties and Guimaraes knows nothing will be easy.
“There is a block of four games in which three are away, so we know the importance to win points away as well. We did that in Pune but did not get any points in Kerala. We hope we can have a better game and take points. The tournament is showing us that every game is going to be tough,” he said.