ISL: Delhi Dynamos vs Kerala Blasters - Preview
Still smarting after a 1-4 drubbing at the hands of FC Goa in their last match, bottom-ranked Delhi Dynamos take on Kerala Blasters in a Hero Indian Super League fixture, seeking to end a five-game winless streak, here on Sunday.
New Delhi: Still smarting after a 1-4 drubbing at the hands of FC Goa in their last match, bottom-ranked Delhi Dynamos take on Kerala Blasters in a Hero Indian Super League fixture, seeking to end a five-game winless streak, here on Sunday.
Despite their attacking intent, Delhi Dynamos have scored just seven goals from eight matches and their solid defence was also punctured by FC Goa strikers on Thursday.
They now desperately need a win tomorrow to lift the sagging morale after losing thrice in their last four matches.
Since thrashing second-place Chennaiyin FC 4-1 in their third match of the tournament here, the Delhi side have been winless for five games and any slip-up tomorrow may cost them dear. Delhi are at the bottom of the eight-team league standings with seven points from one win, four draws and three losses.
Kerala Blasters, sixth at the league standings on nine points, have also been an inconsistent side, having won just two matches out of the eight they have played so far, with three draws and as many losses.
But they have come here in a better frame of mind as they have been unbeaten in their last three matches. The two sides though are still in contention for a semifinal spot as only five points separate the leader and bottom team.
Delhi's bane has been the lack of goals and their marquee player Alessandro Del Piero's indifferent form in the seven matches he has played so far has not helped the team. The Italian legend was benched in Delhi's last match and it will have to be seen what his role will be tomorrow.
The two sides will also want to stamp their authority over the other as they had played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg match on November 9 when Delhi's head coach Harm van Veldhoven was given marching orders for showing dissent at the sidelines against a decision of the referee.
Van Veldhoven will be guiding the team tomorrow but it will have to be seen how the fortunes of his side change for the better tomorrow.
Much had been expected from Del Piero to inspire the team but the 40-year-old has not done much to live up to the expectations though he has got the adulation of the fans wherever he has played.
Against Kerala in the first leg match in Kochi on his 40th birthday, he had little to cheer as he got his second booking of the tournament. Sadly for Delhi Dynamos, few players have stood up. Their defence, which was considered rock solid before the match against FC Goa, made mistakes and conceded four goals against the legendary Zico-coached side.
Brazilian Gustava Dos Santos, who was named in the starting eleven instead of Del Piero, could not do much though he scored the lone goal for Delhi Dynamos from the spot.
The best player for Delhi Dynamos has been the six feet and 10 inches tall goalkeeper Kristof van Hout of Belgium who has made 32 saves -- the best in the league so far -- out of the 41 shots he faced.
The Sachin Tendulkar co-owned Kerala Blasters are even worse than Delhi as far as scoring goals was concerned and they will have to depend on the likes of C S Sabeeth and Iain Hume to bulge the opposition net which they have done only five times so far in the league.