TO GO WITH FBL-IND-INDIA-ISL, FOCUS BY PETER HUTCHINSON

In this photograph taken on September 30, 2015, Delhi Dynamos FC Dutch-Spanish footballer Hans Mulder (L) controls the ball as he takes part in a training session at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.   India's glitzy super league returns this weekend, but a struggling national team and insufficient facilities in the cricket-mad country means the "sleeping giant" of world football is unlikely to stir anytime soon.   AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA
TO GO WITH FBL-IND-INDIA-ISL, FOCUS BY PETER HUTCHINSON In this photograph taken on September 30, 2015, Delhi Dynamos FC Dutch-Spanish footballer Hans Mulder (L) controls the ball as he takes part in a training session at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. India's glitzy super league returns this weekend, but a struggling national team and insufficient facilities in the cricket-mad country means the "sleeping giant" of world football is unlikely to stir anytime soon. AFP PHOTO / MONEY SHARMA

Delhi take on struggling NorthEast in their ISL league match ,

New Delhi : Eyeing the top spot in the pecking order, Delhi Dynamos will be at home, literally as well on form, when they host the beleaguered NorthEast United in their Indian Super League (ISL) football match today. With four wins from six appearances, the Dynamos are comfortably placed at the second position, while two victories from as many outings have seen the Highlanders struggling at the seventh place. Dynamos’ performance has been in stark contrast to NorthEast United’s struggle in the second edition of the franchise-based eight-team league. Another win against Cesar Farias’ outfit, whose has been a similar story as last season, and the hosts will grasp the number one position. Under the guidance of Brazilian World Cup winner, Roberto Carlos, Dynamos, after a string of away fixtures, will finally return to their home turf Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium.

Having started their campaign on a sour note — a 0-2 defeat to FC Goa — Dynamos went on a winning spree in the next games on the road before the run was snapped up, surprisingly, by sixth-placed Mumbai City FC. They found their touch back in the next game, eking out a 1-0 win over defending champions Atletico de Kolkata to justify the tag of being one of the firm favourites this season. While their success rate has been impressive, what Dynamos would like to improve is their low average when it comes to scoring goals. They have managed to score just five times so far. The likes of former French star Florent Malouda, Brazilian Gustavo Dos Santos, Hans Mulder and Robin Singh would be itching to use the match against NorthEast United to find their scoring touch and regain confidence ahead of the tougher battles. On the other hand, it is nothing less than a must-win game for laggards NorthEast United if they are to enter the knockout stage. Farias will hope the players such as likely skipper Simao and Velez — his two attackers — and stopper Cedric Hengbart rise to the challenge and deliver the goods for the struggling outfit.

The experienced Malouda will again be pivotal to Dynamos’ fortunes as he has the ability to create chances for his team-mates. He would also like to find the net himself. Another Brazilian in the Delhi line-up, Chicao, is also expected to play an important role after his contribution in the earlier games. In the absence of Souvik Chakraborty, who is serving a one-match suspension after being shown a red card, Carlos will be forced to make changes to his side. Out-of-favour India stopper Anwar Ali could be drafted into the starting XI in Chakraborty’s place. Dos Santos, who came off the bench to score the winner against Atletico de Kolkata, could also start in the today’s fixture.

Carlos cautions Delhi against complacency

New Delhi: Delhi Dynamos FC manager Roberto Carlos asked his players to guard against complacency when they lock horns with laggards Northeast United FC. “Sometimes the table doesn’t show the skills of each team. NorthEast is a great team with great players. We are going to struggle to win. It will be very tough. We have been through that when we played against Mumbai. Obviously, I hope we don’t have the same result as Mumbai (a 0-2 loss),” he said. UEFA Champions League winner John Arne Riise, who is playing his first season in the Indian Super League, said that he was feeling stronger and more confident with each game. “It’s always new and different to come to a different country. I feel confident and I am getting stronger with each game. I am also getting more confident with the players around me. I think it’s been a good start for my team and me.”

(To view our epaper please click here. For all the latest News, Mumbai, Entertainment, Cricket, Business and Featured News updates, visit Free Press Journal. Also, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and do like our Facebook page for continuous updates on the go)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in