ISL: Delhi, ATK play for pride (Preview)

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) With their hopes of a play-offs berth dashed, Delhi Dynamos FC and ATK will play for pride when they lock horns in an Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.

Hosts Delhi were struggling at the bottom of the table until the last game when a draw against FC Goa helped them climb up the table, leaving NorthEast United FC rock bottom.

“We played for a win against FC Goa (in the last game). As I’ve said all along, we want to finish this competition well, for us and for our (club) president. They understand the (low) position is not good for us. But they also understand that we can finish well and for that we must play for a win,” said Delhi Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal.

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The Spanish coach struggled with his team at the start but has now managed to regain some confidence.

Delhi are now unbeaten in their last three matches, gaining five points from teams like Chennaiyin FC (1-1), NorthEast United FC (1-0) and FC Goa (1-1).

They are placed ninth with 12 points from 15 matches and have a chance to climb above ATK, who are just above them with 13 points.

Meanwhile, nothing has gone to plan for defending champions ATK. They have never failed to qualify for the semi-finals and have won the league twice in the last three years.

This time, however, ATK have struggled with interim chief coach Ashley Westwood, who replaced Teddy Sheringham. The former Bengaluru FC coach has been winless in the five matches he has been in charge.

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In fact, since Westwood took charge, ATK have lost four of their five matches and the only point they got was a draw against Kerala Blasters.

“For us, we need to stop conceding. We are good attacking-wise. We have nothing to lose and we try and win games. So, we open ourselves a little bit but attack in a quick aggressive way,” said Westwood, after his team lost against Mumbai City FC 1-2 in the previous game.

Westwood will be desperate to stop the string of losses and pocket his first win in the ISL.

His team has been hampered by injuries to some foreign players but will feel confident they can get full points, just like they did in the home clash with or without their goal-scorer Robbie Keane.

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