Winless in their last four games and languishing at the bottom half of the points table, Delhi Dynamos would look to notch up their first victory at home when they take on a struggling FC Pune City in an Indian Super League football match.
Delhi began the tournament with a bang by defeating defending champions Chennaiyin FC in Chennai in their campaign opener but since then they have been on a four-match winless streak.
It’s not so much that they have been out of sorts but simply Delhi have not been able to do that extra bit to get a win. After the Chennai win, there were three consecutive draws — against Kerala Blasters, NorthEast United and Mumbai FC.
The last two draws came at home and that did not do anything good for Delhi though the match against Mumbai was a six-goal thriller. They then lost their last game against 10-man Atletico de Kolkata 0-1, failing to score from a penalty. That pushed Delhi to sixth spot in the eight-team league table.
Understandably, Delhi coach Gianluca Zambrotta expressed concern and asked his strikers to start firing and get the campaign back on track.
“In the last match (against ATK), we had opportunities to score but did not kill the match. We are able to create a lot of chances, that’s no problem for us. Unfortunately in the last match, there were some mistakes. Football is like this, sometimes it may appear cruel. It is important for us to think positively,” said Zambrotta at the pre-match press conference.
“We have very good players and at the moment, they are not at their best. They have to improve,” he said.
Zambrotta can take heart from Delhi’s clean sheet results against FC Pune City since the start of ISL. Delhi have never lost against Pune in four encounters, winning three of them and the other match ending in a goalless draw.
Pune have also not been doing better either as they have notched up just one win from five matches, while losing twice and drawing twice. They are at seventh in the points table with just five points.
Pune coach Antonio Habas conceded that his players were failing to get the goals.
“We have 95 per cent new players. We have not created scoring chances. We need time to settle down but the problem is that ISL is a short competition. We have to improve, create more chances and score more goals,” he said.
Habas, who won the title with ATK in the inaugural edition of the ISL, served a four-match suspension and since returning back on the bench he has earned just a draw against Chennaiyin FC.
Pune midfielder Jonatan Lucca said that Delhi would start favourites tomorrow.
“Pune City are a very good side. I have respect for Delhi but we will try and win this game. Delhi should be the favourites since they are playing at home,” said Lucca.
A win for Delhi Dynamos will help them move back to the top four while Pune City also have a chance to be among the best four teams should they score three or more goals against their rivals, who they have never defeated in the past.