Revamped Delhi seek to kick-start season against high-flying Goa
Can the Lions do it on a cold night in the capital against one of the league's most goal-friendly teams?
Last season’s semi-finalists, Delhi Dynamos, look to be a ‘different’ side this season. Playing with a completely new-look team with no remnants from the past, the Lions have not really roared the way their fans would’ve liked, surrendering to defeats in their last three games, two of them at home.
On the other hand, Sergio Lobera’s FC Goa are looking to do what Manchester City are doing in the Premier League at the moment. Score goals, have the ball and run away with the title as early as possible. The team is tied on the top of the table with Bengaluru FC and will need to be taken out of their comfort zone to put them on the back foot.
Miguel Angel Portugal’s side have played well in patches. As Khel Now predicted at the beginning of the season, the team’s creative forces are present on the wings and the central spine needs to exploit the spaces created in the middle. With Paulinho Dias and Matias Mirabaje being no pushovers in terms of vision and passing, Delhi will expect their creative lynchpins to be more effective.
FC Goa, at the moment, seem to be doing everything right except one. Their captain and goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani has let them down time and again, but Lobera’s backing proves that the custodian is in for the long run. Kattimani, has made at least five goal-conceding errors or positional horrors and Goa will expect the man stands his ground better against the capital side.
Otherwise, everything seems to be panning out very well for the Gaurs. Indian players Brandon Fernandes, Ali Mohammed and Mandar Rao Dessai are playing their parts to near perfection and are complementing the burgeoning pair of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote well. In the same vein, the Gaurs look to be walking off with the tie without breaking a sweat.
FC Goa stormed to a 5-2 victory against Kerala Blasters thanks to a Ferran Corominas hat-trick and a Manuel Lanzarote brace.
With a few players coming back to the squad after injuries Portugal is expected to ring in a few changes after losing three out of their matches this season. The injury to Albino Gomes and underwhelming performances by Lallianzuala Chhangte will have an effect on Portugal's tactics. It will not be a surprise if Seityasen Singh or Romeo Fernandes or both on either wings start ahead of the poster-boy of Delhi with Sukhdev Patil starting in place of Gomes. There are reports that Mirabaje is also injured and we could see another Indian starlet in place of him.
Lobera boasts of an injury-free squad and is very much expected to play the same lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation, a team built around Brandon. Goa are rampant in front of goal, owing to their 5-2 win against Kerala Blasters last weekend. Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote have scored 11 of the club's 13 goals and will prove to be a decisive challenge for the Dynamos defense.
Of the eight matches the two teams have played against each other, the Goan side have an edge over the national capital club, winning five matches. Interestingly, there is not a single match that these outfits drew, the rest of the three matches were won by Delhi.
Man to Watch
Gabriel Cichero-Delhi Dynamos: The Venezuelan international is competent to play on the left side of the defence and is accurate with his ball-playing abilities. He is the best shot the Delhi outfit have going against the likes of Corominas and Lanzarote. The 33-year-old player has started every game and has made sure that his performances remain intact despite the result of the team.
Ahmed Jahouh-FC Goa: The defensive midfielder of the Goan side was the unsung hero of the team's last performance against Blasters. Despite tackling the Blasters' attack, he assisted a goal and set up several other chances with his visionary 86% long ball success rate. The Moroccan player defends the backline with ease and allows other midfielders to bombard ahead to attack.
Did You Know?
- Delhi Dynamos are on a losing streak of three games, which is also the highest number of losses by a team this season.
- The average goals per fixture of these two teams is 3.3 goals per game.
- Delhi Dynamos currently hold the record of having sent in the most number of crosses in the league with 74.
The match will be broadcast on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD2 at 8:00 pm. It will also be available for streaming on Hotstar and Jio TV.
Published: Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:26 AM IST