ISL: Delhi Dynamos faces struggling Pune City

Milan Singh will not feature in Delhi Dynamos FC's away game but the team will still be too hot to handle for an inconsistent FC Pune City.

Delhi Dynamos

Delhi Dynamos has been the top team of the season so far.   -  PTI

With four yellow cards to his name, Milan Singh will not feature in Delhi Dynamos FC's away game at the Balewadi stadium on Friday. That means FC Pune City defenders will have to deal with one threat less.

The attacking midfielder had scored with a rocket-like left-footed volley against Atletico de Kolkata in a Hero ISL tie only a few days back and Gianluca Zambrotta chose to be careful with his choice of words while confirming Milan’s non-availability for Delhi Dynamos' 11th game. “Pune has got good quality, play close and defend well. We have a tough match ahead.”

DD had showcased the depth in its squad by pulling off a draw against ATK with just 10 men on the field. It clawed back to draw level twice during the match.

Zambrotta felt the draw would keep the team in good stead for the remainder of the tournament. “The mentality in the team, the positive energy was the gain from the ATK match.” Delhi leads the table with 17 points and has playoff berth in sight.

“At the moment, we are in a good position, but a long way from the playoffs.”

Florent Malouda remains an influential presence and has contributed crucial goals. Even without Milan, Delhi Dynamos will be hot to handle due to its offensive ability (18 goals and 59 shots on target). Marcelo Pereira (five goals in 10 matches) is the joint top-scorer alongside NEUFC's Emiliano Alfaro. Richard Gadze has three goals from 12 shots on target in eight games.

The problem before Antonio Habas is to get FC Pune City strikers discover their goal-scoring touch. “We want to score more goals and work 100 per cent in practice to improve, but it is difficult,” he said, adding: “I would like the team to score every day, but we don’t have these kind of players.” Jonathan Luca, Jesus Tao, Anibal Rodriquez have disappointed.

Anibal, two goals after eight games, is the top scorer for FCPC. Habas is looking at cutting down on errors to force victories. “Teams who concede less mistakes will advance at this stage in the league, more than teams scoring more goals. The goal difference between sides is plus or minus two.”

The tie at Balewadi stadium against Zambrotta’s squad is Pune City’s concluding league tie in front of home fans. “We want to give our fans a good experience,” noted Habas. FCPC desperately needs three points to come within playoff range, but ambitions may have to be curbed due to the misfiring strikers.

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