Both teams have had forgettable seasons but will look to end on a high in the last few games.
The Indian Super league match between NorthEast United FC and Delhi Dynamos FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Wednesday may be of academic interest only as both teams have already dropped out of the race for a top-four finish. But, both sides would look to salvage some pride with a win and avoid a last-place finish.
Currently ninth and 10th respectively in the ISL points table, NorthEast United and Delhi Dynamos have both enjoyed good form in patches but the results have not always gone in their favour. Talking about the mood in the NorthEast dressing room ahead of the “more-or-less inconsequential” game, NEUFC assistant coach, Eelco Schatorrie said that “qualification or not”, his squad is still very positive, and like all professional sportspersons, will give more than 100 percent to score a win.
“The players are very positive, and everybody will give their best, there is no doubt about that. Of course, when you are not fighting for anything then the motivation level tends to dip a bit, but as a group, everybody is here to learn and we are learning with every games,” said Eelco.
NorthEast United brought in the experienced Avram Grant to lead the team in January after Joao de Deus Pires’ disastrous start. But, even a change in the coaching staff couldn’t arrest NorthEast United’s downward slide this season. Commenting on his team’s performance, Schatorrie talked about the need to have quality players in the side.
“We have played all the teams and I can say we haven’t been completely outplayed by any of them. The difference has been in the quality of individuals players every team has. We have had our chances but we failed to take them,” he added.
Delhi Dynamos, after their fine start beating FC Pune City in their opening game, only saw their campaign nosedive with every outing. The Dynamos too had their fair share of upsets when they defeated table topper Bengaluru FC and held Chennaiyin FC 1-1 in their last game but coach Miguel Angel Portugal knows it is too little too late.
“Our motivation now is to avoid the last position in the league. NorthEast United are also in a similar position. We would want a win in this one,” he said at the pre-match press conference.
The Spanish tactician also revealed that he’ll be missing some of his key players for tomorrow’s game. “Yes, Nanda, Edu Moya, Albino, Romeo, Lumu didn’t have time to recover from the last game. That’s doesn’t matter. We’ll try to play our best and win the game,” the Delhi coach added.
NorthEast United FC 2 – 2 Delhi Dynamos FC (3 draws)
Marcinho (NorthEast United FC)
The Brazilian has been the main initiator of attacks for the Highlanders this season. His pace coupled with clinical finishing has taken to task many a defence in the league. He has a good eye for picking incisive passes and has four goals and an assist to his name. He will look to inspire his team to a win against the Dynamos.
Kalu Uche (Delhi Dynamos FC)
The Nigerian, when in form, has used his pace and strength to good effect to tear apart the opposition defence. An effective goal-poacher, Uche has the knack of being in the right place at the right time and has played a key role in Delhi’s attacking forays. With six goals and an assist to his name, he will want to be at his best against NorthEast United FC.
Avram Grant will probably field a 4-2-3-1 formation as well in search of balance in attack and defence.
Goalkeeper: TP Rehenesh
Defenders: Nirmal Chettri, Jose Goncalves, Sambinha, Reagan Singh
Midfielders: John Mosquera, Rowllin Borges, Seiminlen Doungel, Marcinho, Halicharan Narzary
Forward: Danilo Lopes
Highlanders assistant head coach Eelco Schattorie on his team’s mentality before the match: I see a very motivated team. The players are very positive. Everybody is really trying. Of course, when you are not fighting for anything, it is always difficult. But with this group, what I see in training, everybody is there to learn. So, I have zero worries about them.
Miguel Portugal may stick to his 4-2-3-1 formation, as Delhi look to be more clinical in the final third.
Goalkeeper: Sukhdev Patil
Defenders: Sena Ralte, Pratik Chowdhary, Gabriel Cichero, Munmun Lugun
Midfielders: Matias Mirabaje, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manuel Arana, Paulinho Dias, Vinit Rai
Forward: Kalu Uche
Lions head coach Miguel Portugal on his team’s objectives prior to the game: The motivation is to leave the last position. For NorthEast, the situation is the same. We want the win. The players who play tomorrow will play well.”
- Both teams have lost nine and drawn two matches this season.
Delhi Dynamos FC 0 – 2 NorthEast United FC (12th February 2017 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi).
Form Guide (Last five matches)
NorthEast United FC: L L D L W
Delhi Dynamos FC: D L L W L