ISL: Dynamos seeks winning start at home

Delhi Dynamos will take on North East United FC in its first home game of the season, to be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Joao Carlos Pires de Deus, the North East United FC head coach, said he would not change the way his side was playing.   -  AFP

Delhi Dynamos would look to bounce back from its heavy defeat last week when it takes on North East United FC in its first home game of the season here on Saturday. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will host its first competitive football fixture since the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Dynamos began its ISL season on a winning note with a 3-2 victory over FC Pune City but suffered a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of tournament new-comer Bengaluru FC in its second away match on November 26.

One area of concern for the Dynamos in the two matches it has played has been its defensive frailties; the Delhi side has conceded six goals so far while scoring four. “It’s a problem conceding six goals in two matches. But it’s not just about our defence. Rather, it’s about the way we have been defending as a team. I don’t like it. Our philosophy is to press well and we have not been doing that and I’m worried about that,” Dynamos head coach Miguel Angel Portugal said at the pre-match press conference.

Portugal will have a first taste of his home venue which will also see big support for North East United as many football-mad citizens from that part of the country stay in the country’s capital. “I know my stadium. Our support, I think, will be the difference because it’s good to have fans supporting your team through the entire game. But that will be the only advantage we have in the match. We’ll have to play the game the same way as we did in the first two matches,” Portugal said.

More of the same

Portugal admitted he had some injured players but did not disclose the identity of these players.

North East United, on the other hand, is yet to register any point and is still waiting to score its first goal in the tourney. However, head coach Joao Carlos Pires de Deus said he would not change the way his side had been playing. “What I tell my boys is to do the same as we did in the first two games. We created enough opportunities in those two matches. We’ll try to do the same against Delhi Dynamos and hope we get a little bit more lucky,” de Deus said.

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“Nobody is injured and everybody is available for selection. I am going to make some changes in the team though I cannot tell it now. But I am going to field the best first eleven [on Saturday].”

‘History for the museums’

De Deus also spoke about Dynamos’ attack which boasts of Nigerian forward Kalu Uche and teenage starlet and last match hero Lallianzuala Chhangte. “They are a good attack. And they have a balanced squad. We have studied our opponents and we’ll try to minimise their attacking threat,” the Portuguese coach said.

In the head-to-head record so far, North East United has managed one win over Dynamos while the Delhi side has emerged triumphant on two occasions. Three matches have been drawn.

When pointed out the head-to-head stats, de Deus said, “The past six matches of North East United were not played under me. Tomorrow’s match will be my first match against Delhi Dynamos. Past history [is] for the museums. It will be new coaches and new players tomorrow for both sides. Past results do not matter.”

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