ISL: Dynamos plays for pride, Chennaiyin looks to consolidate

Chennaiyin is currently in third position with 23 points but has a game in hand than the teams above and below it.

The match may not change the fortunes of Delhi Dynamos FC in the Hero ISL, but it could certainly affect Chennaiyin FC’s chances in the top four.   -  THE HINDU

Bottom-placed Delhi Dynamos FC takes on Chennaiyin FC with nothing but pride to play for even as the visitor seeks to consolidate its position in the top half of the Indian Super League (ISL) standings on Sunday.

The match may not change the fortunes of the home side in the Hero ISL, but it could certainly affect the visitor's chances in the top four.

Chennaiyin is currently in third position with 23 points but has a game in hand than the teams above and below it. A victory could take it to second spot, and an unlikely loss will still keep it where it is.

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In a remarkable coincidence, Chennaiyin has won every alternate game in the last 10 matches. Since it has lost the last game against Bengaluru FC, the pattern would suggest that it will beat Delhi Dynamos — a team which has won just two games in the entire season.

“The reason is very simple, when the ball is on the ground we play well. We play delinquently, with speed, with control and with good combinations. But when we are attacked and when we have the ball in the air, it is a problem,” Delhi’s head coach Miguel Angel Portugal said, trying to explain his side’s position in the league table.

He also spoke about the team’s inability to excel under pressure when aerial attacks are coming at it, and Chennaiyin will certainly want to exploit that weakness when it travels up north.

ALSO READ: Chennaiyin coach Gregory rues defensive errors

Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory is with a cushion of a game in hand, which it can make the most of. But, that also means it could rotate the squad and give some key players a rest.

“I always believe in playing my best team, so it wouldn’t make a difference tomorrow. Everyone’s fit, we’re all healthy, and the only player we’re missing is the skipper, who is out with suspension. We lost the previous match — playing with 10 men for most part — 10 men who gave everything, but are now looking to bounce back and are raring to go for the game tomorrow,” he said, exuding the confidence of a man who is not too far from sealing a top four spot.

Gregory won’t take it easy though, saying that it would be foolish to write it off as a game which is already won. “You would usually say that they’ve nothing to play for but pride and professionalism — but they’ve played well and did well in Chennai. The team is littered with good players but unfortunately it hasn’t gone their way. Nevertheless they’ve got some talented players and we expect them to try and win the match,” he said.

Chennaiyin is one of the few teams to have given away points to Delhi Dynamos during a 2-2 draw, and the home side will want a better result this time around.

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