Returning after almost a month for its second outing this season on home turf, Delhi Dynamos would be hoping to go on top of the leaderboard when it takes on a struggling NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) here on Tuesday.
Dynamos have 12 points and a win will help them open up a two-point lead over current topper FC Pune City.
The Delhi side has won four of its six games so far, including a fighting 1-0 victory against defending champion Atletico de Kolkata in its previous outing, when substitute Gustavo dos Santos found the target in the final minute of extra-time.
No room for complacency
Coach-manager-marquee player Roberto Carlos, though, is quick to remind his players not to get complacent. “Sometimes the table doesn’t show the skills of each team. NEUFC is a great team with great players.
“We are going to struggle to win tomorrow; it will be very tough. We have been through that when we played against Mumbai. I hope we don’t have the same result as Mumbai,” Carlos said on the eve of the match here. Dynamos had lost 0-2 to Mumbai FC.
NEUFC, on the other hand, needs to get its act together if it has to have any hope of staying in the race for the knock-out stage. Lying seventh in the eight-team league, it has lost four of its six games, including a 5-1 thrashing at Mumbai in the previous game. But, coach Cesar Farias is aware that a couple of good performances can still keep his team in contention for a semifinal spot.
“All the teams are very even, so every game brings a different story. We will look to control the ball. We will stay compact and sharpen our attacks. In the last game, we gave away two penalties through accidental handballs. It’s not common to have two handballs in the box in the same game,” Farias said.
Farias would also be hoping his key players, including likely skipper Simao and defender Cedric Hengbart, come good.
“When you lose, you do not see many positives, but there were positives and we hope to get the result we need,” the former Venezuela manager said.
There are areas of concern for Delhi as well. The team has only managed five goals in its six outings while also holding the unflattering record of having committed the most fouls in the competition (104).
With midfielder Souvik Chakraborty serving a one-match suspension, Carlos may also have to rejig his plans.
Dynamos-NorthEast game could break attendance record
Van Gaal retains confidence in goal-shy Rooney
I-League, ISL may merge: AIFF official
Epl review: 5 things from the weekend fixtures