ISL 2018-19: Struggling Delhi Dynamos hopes to turn the tide against Mumbai City FC

Delhi Dynamos, still winless in the competition so far, faces an in-form side in Mumbai City FC at home on Monday.

Rene Mihelic in action against Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.   -  SPORTZPICS

Delhi Dynamos has been playing ‘good football’ despite the string of losses — this has been coach Josep Gombau’s refrain for much of the season. Even after nine matches, however, the tide hasn’t turned; currently positioned at the bottom of the points table, with a total of four points, the team is still searching for its first win as it hosts Mumbai City FC at home on Monday.

A sprightly performance in the drawn contest against Jamshedpur FC was looked upon as a harbinger for change, but it proved to be a flash in the pan as it has suffered two more losses since. It has the fifth highest number of passes this season, and the third highest number of crosses, but it is at the bottom in terms of goals scored (seven from nine matches).

Besides its inability to score goals, Dynamos’ undoing seems to be in its penchant for allowing late goals. Out of the 14 goals conceded, seven have arrived after the 80th minute.

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Delhi Dynamos players in a practice session a day before the the match against Mumbai City FC.   -  ISL

 

Gombau pointed to this aspect when reflecting his side’s efforts this season, on Sunday. “I think we played well and created a lot of chances against [FC Goa] and [Bengaluru FC] but could not finish well. This time, the team is confident on putting the ball at the back of the net.”

Looking ahead to the contest, Gombau said, “We have an important game against a very good side, Mumbai City FC. It's match-day 10 and we still don't have a win. But I think we have been playing well in the last couple of games. I have a lot of respect for Mumbai but I hope that we can put a good performance and win the game.”

In the last contest against Mumbai, played on October 27, Dynamos was the better team in ball possession, shots, passes, crosses, touches and corners. Yet, it ended up on the losing side.

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Mumbai City FC players go through the paces ahead of the match against Delhi Dynamos.   -  ISL

 

That victory was the start of a period of good form for Mumbai. The team has backed it up by winning its next two contests and drawing the third.

Like Dynamos, Mumbai has scored seven goals in the competition; unlike Dynamos, it has conceded only eight goals (it has five clean sheets), and is positioned fifth, after eight matches. Mumbai is well in the hunt for a place in the playoffs.

But a victory here on Monday is far from certain. As coach Jorge Costa himself confessed on Sunday, “If you don't watch [Dynamos] play and you look at their position, you can be disappointed. But if you watch them play, you will know that they are playing well.”

He added, “We need to respect them and be focused.”