Free Press Journal

Chennaiyin take on Delhi Dynamos in must-win ISL match


Chennai: Having lost thrice in their last four matches and the chances of advancing to the play-offs hanging by a thread, Chennaiyin FC take on a confident Delhi Dynamos in their must-win game of the Indian Super League football here tomorrow.

Chennaiyin are sixth on the table with 13 points from 11 matches and with just three matches left to be played, Marco Materazzi’s side now face an uphill task to qualify for the final-four. Delhi are comfortably placed at third with 18 points from 10 matches and a win tomorrow will assure them of a place in the play-offs.

Chennaiyin lost three matches on the trot in the second phase before a convincing 4-1 win over Kerala Blasters in their last match. Chennaiyin have Stiven Mendoza as the leading goal-scorer in the tournament with nine goals, which includes two hat-tricks. Yet, last year’s semi-finalists Chennaiyin have blown hot and cold this season and they have a lot of ground to cover in the remaining matches.

The home side will also be without two foreign players as Manuele Blasi and Alessandro Potenza have picked up their fourth yellow cards in the last match and will remain suspended for tomorrow’s game. Delhi, on the other hand, are among the more consistent teams this season and they would go into the match with a lot of confidence as they have remained unbeaten in the last five matches.

Delhi will also displace defending champions Atletico de Kolkata at the top of the eight-team league table if they win tomorrow at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here. Materazzi himself knows his team’s qualification to the play-offs is not entirely in their hands. “Each and every game is a final for us. It’s tomorrow or never. I knew what my team is capable of from the first game. We will do everything we can. Now it depends not only on us but also on other team’s results,” said Materazzi.

Delhi marquee player-cum-manager Roberto Carlos preferred not to be overexcited with the consistent performance of his side but made it clear that his first target is to make it to the play-offs. I am not really worried about finishing first, second, third or fourth. Every team is very balanced here. I just want to make it to the play-offs,” said Carlos.

Whether they are playing at home or away, Carlos said Delhi Dynamos will continue to play for a win. “We know Chennaiyin’s situation. If they play attacking us, we will play counter-attack. If they defend, we can position our players well. The pressure is on Chennai. We are playing at their home and we respect them,” he said.