ISL: Unbeaten ATK, Delhi Dynamos to lock horns

Atetico de Kolkata looked at a dishevelled record sheet as it prepares to take on Delhi Dynamos FC, in its third home outing of the ISL on Saturday. Two draws at home in the season so far and a winless record against visitor on the overall count, puts the former champion in a tricky situation.

Atletico de Kolkata's Iain Hume will once again don the mantle of lead striker as marquee player Helder Postiga is yet to recover from his injury.   -  isl sportzpics

Atetico de Kolkata looked at a dishevelled record sheet as it prepares to take on Delhi Dynamos FC, in its third home outing of the ISL on Saturday. Two draws at home (against Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa) in the season so far and a winless record against visitor on the overall count, puts the former champion in a tricky situation.

Again, having been pushed to the bottom half of the eight-team league table (specifically the fifth spot) by defending champion Chennaiyin FC, which beat current leader NorthEast United on Thursday to move up the rungs, the host is seriously seeking a win to rectify a lot of anomalies.

Spanish Coach Jose Molina had managed to keep ATK unbeaten in the four rounds but with three draws and a win, the team’s progress has been quite languid. What is bothering the team think-tank is that the side has not been able to express itself at home. For Delhi Dynamos, the record is not much different compared to its upcoming opponent. The visitor, which has also drawn three and won just once, has a better goal difference for having scored more. This would be keeping the new Italian manager of Delhi, Gianluca Zambrotta, on a better footing.

The Dynamos started confidently with a 3-1 win against Chennaiyin FC in the latter’s home but since then it has been a saga of draws as Zambrotta’s men failed to regain the winning touch against Kerala Blasters and NorthEast United FC . And it was quite fortunate in the 3-3 draw against Mumbai City FC in the last match, where Delhi had to fight back from a two-goal deficit.

Squad updates

Delhi is relying on a new squad which has been built keeping the versatile French World Cupper Florent Malouda in the middle. Zambrotta will be wishing that Malouda regains his play-making form, which helped the team reach the semifinal last season.

For Molina, the absence of its marquee player Helder Postiga has been a cause of concern. The Portuguese World Cupper, who played only one match last season before sitting out the rest of the time with injury, is going to miss his third success match this season as he is yet to recover from a blow on the rib cage, which he suffered against Kerala Blasters. While Stephen Pearson is suspended with a red card, Molina hoped that the rest of the attack, with Iain Hume, Sameehg Doutie and Juan Balencoso, will do a good job. Good news for the coach is that Spaniard Tiri and Botswana’s Oftense Nato are available for selection.

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