The game promises to be an entertaining on with both teams full of goals at the moment.
Delhi Dynamos FC’s recent good form in the Hero Indian Super League has made many wonder what it could have been for Miguel Angel Portugal’s side had they shown the same drive earlier in the season. Having fallen out of the race for the top four early in the season, Dynamos can now only hope to end their season on a high when they welcome FC Pune City at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi, on Friday.
Delhi are unbeaten in their last five games and have won back-to-back games against ATK and Mumbai City FC at home. Portugal will be looking to complete a hat-trick against FC Pune City, who have already made it to the playoffs. “The mood in the team is very good after the wins. But now we need to play again to win,” Portugal said about his team’s recent form at the pre-match media interaction.
The Spanish tactician put the onus on the opposition saying his team will be under no pressure. “We’ll be playing to be happy. Pune needs to win the game,” he said.
In the reverse fixture between the two teams, which was Delhi’s first game of the season, Portugal’s men prevailed 3-2 over Pune.
While Pune have already made it to the playoffs, their humiliating 0-4 loss to FC Goa in their last game has not gone down too well with their fiery coach Ranko Popovic, who wants them to get back to winning ways before the big playoff games.
“We have to show last game just an accident. The problem is not when you lose, the problem is when you show no desire to win and that’s what happened to us in the last game.”
Talking about the importance of the game against Delhi, he added, “It is important for us because it’s the last game of the regular season.”
Critical of his player’s performance, Popovic told reporters that his players relaxed too much and it cost them the game against Goa. “I had told my players when you are playing well, you may just relax in a match and it will cost you. They didn’t feel that and now they do after the Goa defeat,” he continued.
FC Pune City will be without their top scorer Marcelinho for the game due to suspension. Delhi Dynamos, on the other hand, will have to do without midfielder Vineet Rai.
Delhi Dynamos FC 4 – 1 FC Pune City (2 draws).
Matias Mirabaje (Delhi Dynamos FC)
The Uruguayan has been the engine in the midfield for the Lions’ side. A player who is strong, quick with the ball at his feet and clinical when it comes to finishing, Mirabaje has three goals and an assist to his name. He will look to influence his side to a victory one final time, to end the season on a positive note.
Emiliano Alfaro (Pune City)
The Stallion’s Uruguayan forward was a major miss in their defeat to Goa. Alfaro has spearheaded the Pune attacking line with gusto with his speed and poaching instincts. Always a danger to the opponents with the ball at his feet, he has seven goals and two assists to his name this season and would look to be at his best against Delhi.
Delhi Dynamos FC
Miguel Portugal may use a 4-2-3-1 formation which has brought his team success in recent times.
Goalkeeper: Arnab Das Sharma
Defenders: Pritam Kotal, Pratik Chowdhary, Gabriel Cichero, Munmun Lugun
Midfielders: Matias Mirabaje, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manuel Arana, Paulinho Dias, Seityasen Singh
Forward: Kalu Uche
Delhi head coach on the team’s mentality ahead of the match: “The form is very good after the back-to-back wins. Winning is always a very important part of football, to stay motivated and happy. Now, we must play the last match of the season and try and win this one to stay happy.”
FC Pune City
Ranko Popovic may counter with his own 4-2-3-1 formation, which ensures their attack receives good service from the midfield.
Goalkeeper: Vishal Kaith
Defenders: Sarthak Golui, Gurtej Singh, Rafael Lopez, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai
Midfielders: Marko Stankovic, Adil Khan, Jonatan Lucca, Marcos Tebar, Ashique Kuruniyan
Forward: Emiliano Alfaro
Pune head coach on the importance of ending the league phase with a win: “This is the last game of the regular season, so it is important to have a nice finish and leave a good impression. For me, the way how you perform is important. If you give everything on the pitch, then you can be unsatisfied with the result, but never with yourself.”
- Pune have never beaten the Lions at Delhi
- Both teams have lost six games this season so far
FC Pune City 2 – 3 Delhi Dynamos FC (22nd November 2017 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune)
Form Guide (Last five matches)
Delhi Dynamos FC: W W D W D
FC Pune City: L D W W L