ISL: Delhi hosts Kerala in battle of strugglers

After winning the opening match, Delhi has lost six of the last seven matches it has played and finds itself in the rock bottom of the table. Kerala, is eighth in the ISL table.

Kerala Blasters' Iain Hume and new coach David James during a training session in Delhi on Tuesday.   -  AIFF

Winless in the last seven matches, Delhi Dynamos will hope to turn it around when it hosts an equally struggling Kerala Blasters in a Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match here on Wednesday.

Delhi started the season with a bang, beating FC Pune City 3-2 in its opening match on November 22. In the seven matches played since then, it has lost six and drawn one — and finds itself in the rock bottom of the table.

Its opponent, Kerala, is eighth in the ISL table and has undergone a coaching staff overhaul. New chief coach David James’ first job will be to secure a victory after a run of three matches without one.

READ: Kerala Blasters ropes in David James as coach

Delhi continues to play a possession-based game and stitch up good passing play —— but a weak defence has been leaking goals regularly.

“At home it is most important that we win. I think we have an opportunity to win. A point is important for confidence though,” Dynamos’ head coach Miguel Angel Portugal said.

“Kerala is strong in defence and very experienced. They are compact and difficult to break down. But it is also difficult for them against us.”

James, meanwhile, sounded confident and praised the depth of the Kerala Blasters side. He did mention that there will be late fitness tests for some, but at the same time, said that all the players were available as far as he was concerned.

“My first job is to familiarise myself with the players. There could be a tendency to watch differently than as a fan. I would be disappointed if we didn’t get the results. We have to get results as quickly as possible. I’m confident, players are confident and that is good for me and it is a challenge,” he said.

Kerala has traditionally been a late bloomer in the league and has even managed to make it to the playoffs with a negative goal difference in the past.

In James’ first game last week against Pune City, a more direct approach was seen and he even took off Bulgarian veteran Dimitar Berbatov to suit his style of play. This will be a battle of huge consequences with both teams struggling as the league is approaching its half-way mark.

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