#Update: Florent Malouda might miss the game due to an injury.
The 'Marina Arena’ in Chennai gets ready to host its first match as defending champions Chennaiyin FC play host to the Delhi Dynamos in match six of the 2016 Indian Super League. The match will see a clash between two Italian World Cup winners in Marco Materazzi and Gianluca Zambrotta, winners together in 2006, but now opposing managers in the dugout for Chennaiyin and Delhi respectively. Here's a look ahead to likely team lineups for match six.
For the home side, the objective will be to garner their first win of the season after having drawn their opener 2-2 away at Atletico de Kolkata. Chennaiyin led 2-1 a late penalty conceded by 18-year-old Jerry saw Kolkata draw level. Chennai will be looking to shore up those mistakes here at home.
Picking the 6 foreigners (a team can have up to six foreigners in eleven)
35-year-old Bernard Mendy, the captain of the side, and 35-year-old John Arne Riise, the club's marquee player, anchored the middle of the defence in the opener and that looks to continue judging from comments by Riise himself. Behind them, the goal will be secured by the towering Duwayne Kerr of Jamaica, who has an imposing presence between the sticks.
Brazilian Raphael Augusto is another player who occupies a high rung amongst the imports. His calm, controlling presence since his arrival last year makes him a near certainty. Dutchman Hans Mulder, acquired from their next opponents, the Delhi Dynamos, scored in the first game, though it was a scrappy one. His physical, bruising style of play is well appreciated though and he will certainly play once more.
Italian veteran Davide Succi started against Kolkata, but wasn't very impressive and might lose his spot to someone. It remains to be seen.
Manipur man and regular at left-back for Chennaiyin over the two seasons, Dhanachandra Singh, is injured and as a result, Nallapan Mohanraj is likely to deputise again. Youngster Jerry looked shaky and conceded the penalty, and will likely feature from the bench again.
Materazzi sprung quite a few surprises in the first game with neither the industrious Thoi Singh, a star performer last season, and Harmanjot Khabra, featuring in midfield. Newcomer Baljit Sahni, acquired from Kolkata played, though, and looked impressive with his forays in the attacking third. However, Thoi and Harmanjot might get a shot at the expense of Succi.
Jeje Lalpekhlua will lead the line and the exciting Jayesh Rane, who also was impressive in the opener, will partner him up front. With the departures of Elano, Stiven Mendoza and Bruno Pelissari, there is a need for pace and creativity for Chennai, and Jayesh offers that.
Likely Chennaiyin XI
There is a bit of an unknown about Delhi as Thursday's game will be their first game of this ISL season. For coach Zambrotta, it's his first stint in Indian football, and compared to Materazzi he is a novice.
Delhi though were undefeated in their pre-season, winning two and drawing one out of their three games, to go with a 0-1 loss to Premier League side West Bromwich Albion in a charity friendly.
The foreign six
Frenchman Florent Malouda returns; this time as the marquee player for the Dynamos. Having had a huge impact on the side last term, providing eight assists, Malouda will look to power the Dynamos once more. Another star man returning is Ghanaian forward Richard Gadze, who had four goals and two assists for Delhi last year.
Toni Doblas is likely to start the campaign defending Delhi's goal as the first choice keeper while David Addy is likely to start in defence ahead of him at left-back. Brazilian Marcelo Leite has been in good form in pre-season and along with Ibrahima Niasse, brother of Everton man Oumar Niasse, are early candidates for a midfield starting spot. The team's second marquee player, Ruben Gonzalez, will likely take one of the centre-back spots.
Syed Nabi from the West Brom U-21 academy, brother of former Delhi and Baggies player Adil Nabi, is also one to watch out for, along with Rahis, the youngest of the brothers.
Hitman Kean Lewis has been one of the brightest sparks in this Delhi team's pre-season, being amongst the goals. The Mohun Bagan man will look to carry that form into the league and is sure to feature from the start tomorrow alongside Gadze.
Anas Edathodika is amongst the leaders of the Indian contingent in the Delhi squad and will partner Gonzalez in central defence. Souvik Chakrabarti is another whose been a regular for Delhi and he looks to continue his role in midfield. Rupert Nongrum and Chinglensana, on loan from Shillong Lajong, are also expected to take up key roles.