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ISL Gameweek 3 Preview: The firstt Maha Derby beckons as NEUFC aim to continue their fine start

Written by: Ajay A K


Currently, FC Goa are on top of the table followed by Jamshedpur, Kerala, and Bengaluru.

Nine matches into ISL 2018-19 and it is not looking good for champions Chennaiyin FC. Both the Marina Machans and ATK are yet to win a match this season, with the West Bengal side being the only team yet to score a goal. If the first gameweek saw the heavyweights stumble, the second saw a lot of thrilling encounters with late drama. The last four matches saw seven out of the eleven goals scored post the 80th-minute mark, with five of them having the potential to change the result.

The thrilling encounters also saw Chennaiyin and ATK stumble again and this week they will be looking to get back to higher ground. NorthEast United will also seek to continue their fine form in their bid for a first-ever playoffs appearance.

In this article, we at Khel Now are going to talk about the upcoming gameweek and how it could turn out to be:

Delhi Dynamos FC Vs ATK

Date & Venue: 17th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

Delhi Dynamos started their season with a thrilling draw at home against FC Pune City. Although, they ended up sharing the spoils, it was three points lost for Delhi as they could have closed out the game. But, they missed several chances to go two ahead after Rana Gharami’s screamer towards the end of the first half. The Lions will be looking for all three points in this encounter.

Watch: Lanzarote almost found a goal for his side against NEUFC

ATK on the other hand, are in dire straits after two consecutive losses against Kerala Blasters and Northeast United. The two-time former champions have looked uninspiring in both their encounters. There has been a serious lack of creativity in midfield with very few chances being made. In the first match of a potentially season-defining week, a win is a must for ATK if they are to pose a playoffs threat.

Delhi and ATK have faced each other eight times during the last four seasons. Four of those encounters have ended in a draw, with the Dynamos and the Kolkata outfit winning two each of the remaining matches.

For Delhi, Mihelic is expected to play in the attacking midfielder role, while Lanzarote will occupy a similar position for the West Bengal club

Delhi are expected to have an unchanged formation with just one change in the lineup from their previous game. Vinit Rai comes in for Bikramjit Singh. The Lions will be looking to use the flanks effectively like last time. Josep Gombau’s side will be hoping to play in their fluid possession-oriented system and use their midfielders efficiently.

ATK are expected to have a squad reshuffle following their loss against Northeast United. Sena Ralte is suspended due to his dismissal against Northeast. So, Ricky Lallawmawma will slot in at left-back. Both Kalu Uche and Andre Bikey are expected to be match fit and will start in place of Noussair El Maimouni and Gerson Vieira. Eugensen Lyngdoh and Md. Faiaz are also expected to feature for Steve Coppell’s side with Balwant Singh and Jayesh Rane dropping out. The team will look to hit Delhi on the counter with the pace available in their ranks.

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Watch: It was a dream debut for Rana Gharami in the ISL

Lallianzuala Chhangte will be keen to impress again. He put in a solid shift against Pune with his dangerous crosses and he will look to capitalize on the width and exploit the ATK full-backs with his skill and pace.

Kalu Uche will seek a return to last season's form against his former team. The former Dynamos striker scored thirteen goals in the 2017-18 ISL campaign and he has the capability to create problems for opposing defenders with just his imposing presence. The onus will be on him to ignite a dormant ATK attack.

Chennaiyin FC Vs Northeast United FC

Date & Venue: 18th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

ISL 5 has not been kind to Chennaiyin so far. Two matches in and the defending champions have lost both of them. If the Bengaluru game was a close affair, the match against FC Goa was nothing like it. Goa outplayed Chennaiyin in every area and ran away deserving winners. For the Marina Machans, the game against NorthEast is their chance to pull themselves back into the playoffs race.

NorthEast United have started the season on a pleasing note. They earned a hard-fought draw against FC Goa in their opening match of the season and then broke the stern ATK defence in Kolkata in their second. The Highlanders look all set to break their playoffs jinx this season and a win against the Southerners would boost them no end. Chennaiyin are in a very vulnerable position right now and NorthEast will look to take full advantage of the situation.

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Watch: The pulsating draw between NEUFC and Goa this season

The head-to-head record is kind to the Highlanders, with NorthEast winning four of the eight encounters between the two teams. Chennaiyin have come out on top in two matches, while both the teams shared points in the remaining two matches.

The Marina Machans will be aiming to get back to winning ways, while NEUFC will look to continue their fine form

Despite their loss to FC Goa, the Marina Machans are expected to field the same side against the Highlanders. The 4-2-3-1 formation will see Anirudh Thapa and Germanpreet Singh reprising their roles as holding midfielders. John Gregory will rely on Gregory Nelson and Francis Fernandes to provide the width and pace and also support Jeje Lalpekhlua and Raphael Augusto.

NorthEast will be expected to field an unchanged lineup with Eelco Schattorie preferring a 4-2-3-1. The key for the Highlanders will be the midfield duo of Rowlin Borges and Jose Leudo. The pair will look to dictate play and provide opportunities for the lethal Bartholomew Ogbeche upfront.

Gregory Nelson is a key figure in Chennaiyin’s attack. The game against the Gaurs saw the Dutchman step up when the likes of Augusto and Jeje failed to be effective. Most of the attacks in the game went through Nelson’s flanks and his performance will be a vital factor in determining the result of the match.

Rowlin Borges has been a pivotal figure for NorthEast during their first two matches. He has been a dominant presence in the middle of the park for the Highlanders and his long shots are a big threat. His controlling influence will be key against Chennaiyin. The Indian midfielder gave his team all three points with a very good goal against ATK and he will look to maintain their fine start to the season.

Mumbai City FC Vs FC Pune City

Date & Venue: 19th October/ Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

Pranjal Bhumij’s screamer in the dying moments of the game against the Blasters might have given Mumbai fans temporary relief. But, the Islanders need to improve considerably on all fronts if they are to make the playoffs this season. Jorge Costa’s men were outplayed by Jamshedpur in their first game. In Kochi, Mumbai were clearly second best for most of the game. The season's first Maharashtra Derby will be an opportunity for them to get themselves back to winning ways.

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Watch: Jahouh received the Hero of the Match award for his display against Chennaiyin

Pune City left it late to rescue a point against Delhi in their season opener. The Stallions will be happy with a point form the thrilling encounter, but when they come to Mumbai, they will be looking for all three.

The Maharashtra Derby has been advantageous to Pune, with the Stallions emerging victorious in five of the eight matches played between the two. The Islanders have won only two encounters. The duo has also played out a draw.

Amrinder will be in goal for Mumbai, while Vishal will guard the posts for Pune

Jorge Costa is expected to field an unchanged side from the draw in Kerala. The 4-2-3-1 formation will see Raynier Fernandes adopt the creative #10 role with Modou Sougou as the striker. The midfield will be required to create chances for the Senegalese who is yet to open his account for the Islanders.


Marcelinho is expected to make his return and slot in behind Emiliano Alfaro. The Brazilian is likely to replace Jonathan Vila in the lineup. The rest of the team should remain unchanged. The onus will be on wingers Ashique Kuruniyan and Jakob Vanlalhimpuia to provide width which will allow Marcelinho to weave his magic on the ball. The defensive duo of Martin Diaz and Matthew Mills will be aiming to keep the likes of Sougou and Rafael Bastos from creating trouble in their half.

Lucian Goian’s physical attributes can cause real problems for the Pune attack. The Romanian defender has been imposing at the back for Mumbai making 13 tackles and 17 clearances. Goian has been a real menace making life difficult for opposition strikers. He will need to be at his best aggainst Pune.

Marcelinho will be looking to pick up from where he left off last season. The Brazilian had eight goals and seven assists last campaign and was the key figure upfront for Pune. His presence will be a threat for the Mumbai City defence.

Kerala Blasters FC Vs Delhi Dynamos FC

Date & Venue: 20th October/ Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

Kerala Blasters have had a solid start to ISL 5. They would have been sitting on top of the table if it weren’t for Pranjal’s amazing goal against them in the latter minutes of their encounter against Mumbai City. They put forth a dominant show against ATK in the season opener, with their star attacking duo of Matej Poplatnik and Slavisa Stojanovic coming good to give them a comfortable 0-2 victory. They outplayed the Islanders in their second game only to see three points snatched away towards the end. The Yellow Army would be looking to ride on their fanatical home support and gain all three points against Delhi.

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Watch: KBFC's perfect performance against ATK

The first game for Delhi saw them split the points at home against Pune City.  They arrive in Kerala for their first away match of the season. Away from the comforts of home, the Dynamos will be facing an uphill task against a confident Blasters side. The Yellow Fortress is renowned for its atmosphere and Delhi will need to put in their best efforts to keep the ‘Manjappada’ silent.

The Blasters and the Dynamos have faced each other ten times in the ISL. The Yellow Army hold the slight edge over the capital side, with four wins to Delhi’s three. The highly-competitive fixture has also seen three draws.

Narzary is expected to continue his form for Kerala, while Gharami will aim to build on his solid start

No change is expected in the lineup from the home side. The Yellow Army have an ideal blend of youth and experience amongst their ranks. Youngsters Dheeraj Singh and Mohammed Rakip will look to continue their impressive performances for the Blasters, while the European attacking duo will be responsible for igniting their attack.

Bar unfortunate events, Delhi should have an unchanged lineup from their match against ATK. Their possession-based style of play could see them dominate the ball, but they should also be wary of Kerala’s pace on the counter.

Goalkeeper Dheeraj leads the league in saves. He has put in performances that belie his age over the course of the first two matches and if it weren’t for a screamer from Pranjal, the youngster would have started his ISL career with two successive clean-sheets. His performance between the sticks will be key for Blasters, especially if they hope to contain the likes of Andrija Kaludjerovic and Rene Mihelic.

Marcos Tebar’s understanding and reading of the play will be a determining factor for Delhi. The Dynamos midfielder has an assist to his name and his positioning will be crucial if they are to deal with a largely counter-attacking Blasters side.

Jamshedpur Vs ATK

Date & Venue: 21st October/ JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

Jamshedpur FC started life under new coach Cesar Ferrando in style, overcoming Mumbai City in their first encounter of the season. They then went on to earn a hard-fought, but deserved draw against Bengaluru FC, where they showed remarkable composure by scoring their second equalizing goal in injury-time, despite conceding  in the 88th minute. The Men of Steel will be in comfortable territory at the JRD Tata Sports Complex and can expect the crowd to boost them in the quest for all three points.


Jamshedpur is ATK’s second away game in a row. Coppell’s side had a disappointing home stretch losing their first two games in embarrassing fashion. They will be looking to get good results from their successive away matches at Pune and Jamshedpur.

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Watch: Jerry Mawihmingthanga received the Hero of the Match award for his display against Mumbai

Last season, the first match between the two sides turned out to be a goalless draw. However, Jamshedpur won the return fixture in Kolkata.

Tim Cahill is expected to lead the line for Jamshedpur, while Uche will follow suit for ATK

The Red Miners will mostly field an unchanged lineup from their entertaining draw against Bengaluru. The big name upfront, Tim Cahill will be vital in Ferrando’s setup. Cahill, along with Sergio Cidoncha and Mario Arques will look to enforce Ferrando’s ideas on the field. An ideal blend of Indian and foreign talent, Jamshedpur look capable of overpowering any team.

ATK are expected to have an unchanged lineup from their game against Delhi. Fans of the team will be hoping for the creative genius of Lanzarote to step up and deliver the goods like he did for FC Goa last season.

Arques has been excellent for the Men of Steel. The midfielder has been putting in good shifts in both attack and defence for the Red Miners. He has one goal and two assists in the first two matches and is a vital component for Jamshedpur. He is also a pivotal defensive figure putting in tackles, blocking shots and intercepting passes. His performance helped his team share the spoils in Bengaluru and he will be looking to continue his fine form.

Lanzarote needs to be at his best to give ATK a much-needed victory in Jamshedpur. His performances have been pretty ordinary so far, but he has the ability to turn it around. The ATK captain scored 13 goals last season, but is yet to open his account this campaign.

FC Pune City Vs Bengaluru FC

Date & Venue: 22nd October/ Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune

Time & Broadcast: 07:30 PM/ Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD & Hotstar

Pune will be facing Bengaluru after two successive away matches. The first match saw them eke out a draw against Delhi. The Stallions required a late goal from Diego Carlos to share the spoils. They face Bengaluru in their first home game, hoping to give their fans a victory on home soil and set the record straight against the Blues.


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Watch: Miku's goal against Chennaiyin this season

In Pune, The Blues will look to continue the fine record they have against the Stallions. Bengaluru have started the season well, earning a tough win against Chennaiyin in their opening game. They followed that with a good performance against Jamshedpur at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, only to see two points taken away from them in injury-time.  

The Stallions are yet to win against Bengaluru in four encounters. Both the sides played out two draws last season, with Bengaluru winning two games, the second of which came in the second leg of the semi-final.

Paartalu and Khabra will dictate the tempo for Bengaluru, while Stankovic and Adil will do the same for Pune

Pune will mostly field an unchanged lineup from their match against Mumbai City. The return of Marcelinho in the #10 role will surely be a boost for Miguel Angel Portugal’s side, that will be looking to repeat their playoffs endeavours from last season. Marcelinho’s chemistry with Alfaro will be a vital component if they are to gain all three points in this fixture.

Carles Cuadrat will be expected to field an unchanged starting lineup against Pune. The Spaniard will rely heavily on the quality Bengaluru have upfront. The La Masia graduate utilizes a 4-2-3-1 formation and relies on the pace and energy of the wingers to create attacks. He will expect the compactness and solidity of his defence to repel Pune's threat.

Emiliano Alfaro was the top scorer for Pune City last season with nine goals. He is yet to open his account for the Stallions this season, but he is still an offensive threat. His link-up with Diego Carlos led to a goal against Delhi and his role as a target man could lead to more chances for Pune.

Miku’s lethal presence upfront causes serious problems for the Pune defence. The Venezuelan striker already has a goal, the winner against Chennaiyin and will be looking to pounce on the slightest chance to improve his tally.

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Published: Tue Oct 16, 2018 06:20 PM IST


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