Dynamos and Pune City set for intense duel

FC Pune City forwards will be keen to test Delhi Dynamos which is coming off a disappointing season when the team finished eighth.

Marcelinho FC Pune City NorthEast United FC

Marcelinho, who grabbed the golden boot in 2016 with Dynamos, would be a constant threat to the home side.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

Can the foreign presence make the difference for Delhi Dynamos FC which hosts FC Pune City in its opening match of the Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday?

There is a `mole’ in the opposition, coach Miguel Angel Portugal, who is likely to make some inroads into the Dynamos plans. The Spaniard had a disappointing time with the Dynamos last season when the team finished eighth. He must look to convince Pune City of his motivational strength since a winning start away from home would be the ideal launch pad for Portugal.

Dynamos have roped in another Spaniard, Josep Gombau, to resuscitate the spirits of the team. Gombau is credited with reconstructing the team with some exciting foreign signings and promoting local talent too. “Everyone’s target is to win and mine is no different. We want to be challenging from the beginning,” said Gombau on the eve of the match.

There are four Spaniards in Gombau’s scheme of things. Marcos Tebar is the man the team will look up to. Tebar's switch from Pune City to Dynamos marks a critical move. He had appeared for Dynamos in the third season of the ISL. Tebar’s dominance in the midfield will be the key.

“Marcos is a very good player. He has the potential to build this project. Apart from that, he is a good guy. He is friendly with everybody. Indian players look up to him. This type of player who has an open mentality to help is very important for the squad,” said Gombau. 

For Pune City coach Portugal it would be a challenge to contain Dynamos which has lost to it just once in eight matches. “For me, it's another challenge. My thanks to Delhi. I was really happy there but now I have signed for Pune. I have confidence in Pune. We have very good players. We will try to improve. It’s not easy but I have confidence in our philosophy,” Portugal stressed.

The pair of Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro would present Dynamos defence a huge task. On the wings, Ashique Kuruniyan and Nikhil Poojari would add sting to the away side's attacking line. The fans in the Capital are set to watch an intense duel between the Pune City forwards and Dynamos’ sturdy defence.