ISL: Delhi play for pride as Chennai look to consolidate (Preview)

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) Bottom placed Delhi Dynamos FC will have nothing but professional pride to play for when they take on Chennaiyin FC in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here on Sunday.

With just seven points from 12 matches, even a victory may not change Delhi’s fortunes, but it could certainly affect the visitors’ chances in the top four.

Chennaiyin are currently third on the ISL table with 23 points from 13 matches. But they have a game in hand on the teams above and below them.

A victory could take them to the second spot, and an unlikely loss will still keep them where they are.

In a remarkable co-incidence, Chennaiyin have won every alternate game in the last 10 matches. Since they have lost the last game against Bengaluru FC, the pattern would suggest that they will beat Delhi Dynamos, a team who have won just two games in the entire season.

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“The reason is very simple, when the ball is on the ground we play well. We play delinquently, with speed, with control and with good combinations. But when we are attacked and when we have the ball in the air, it is a problem,” Delhi’s head coach Miguel Angel Portugal said on Saturday.

He also spoke about the team’s inability to excel under pressure when aerial attacks are coming at them, and Chennaiyin will certainly want to exploit that weakness.

Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory, with cushion of a game in hand and the position they are in, can make the most of the situation and give some key players a rest.

“I always believe in playing my best team, so it wouldn’t make a difference tomorrow. Everyone’s fit, we’re all healthy, and the only player we’re missing is the skipper, who is out with suspension. We lost the previous match — playing with 10 men for most part — 10 men who gave everything. But are now looking to bounce back and are raring to go for the game tomorrow,” he said.

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Gregory won’t take it easy though, saying that it would be foolish to write it off as a game which is already won.

“You would usually say that they’ve nothing to play for but pride and professionalism. but they’ve played well and did well in Chennai. The team is littered with good players but unfortunately it hasn’t gone their way. Nevertheless they’ve got some talented players and we expect them to try and win the match,” he said.

Chennaiyin are one of the few teams to have given away points to Delhi Dynamos during a 2-2 draw, and the hosts will want a better result this time around.

–IANS

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