Delhi Dynamos FC and Pune City FC face off against each other in the national capital in a top-of-the-table clash that will take the winner to joint-top along with FC Goa. Both teams will be looking to end their winless runs as Pune have not won in their last four games and Delhi have drawn their last three games at one goal apiece.
Both teams are currently on 15 points with Delhi having played one game less than their Maharashtrian opponents. With top spot in the league at stake, both sides will be eager to seize the initiative.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Date and Time: Thursday, 19th November 2015 – 1900 IST
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
Live Telecast: StarSports 2 & 3, StarSports HD2 & HD
Live Streaming: starsports.com and Hotstar app
Live updates: Sportskeeda
Delhi Dynamos FC
Roberto Carlos will have a fully fit squad to pick from after the game against Atletico de Kolkata. It will be interesting to see whether he will start with Toni Doblas in goal, after the latter’s costly error allowed Ian Hume to score the last time around. The Delhi defense has been solid so far this season and is expected to feature the same players as the previous game.
Carlos will have a tough call to make in deciding who out of Richard Gadze or Adil Nabi will start upfront along with Robin Singh as Gadze has been the Delhi side’s top scorer while Nabi showed some great touches and made a great impact when he came on as a substitute against Atletico de Kolkata. Len Doungel might be chosen to start on the right wing instead of Francis Fernandes.
Likely XI: Toni Doblas; Adinga Ralte, John Arne Riise, Anas Edathodika, Souvik Chakraborthy, Chicao, Hans Mulder, Florent Malouda, Len Doungel; Robin Singh, Richard Gadze.
Pune City FC
Pune have managed to pick up just three points in their last three games, and their previous game ended in a goalless draw against Mumbai. They have been winless on the road this season and will be hoping that they could pick up three points at the home of the Lions.
Like Carlos, the Pune manager also has a decision to make on whether to go with Steve Simonsen in goal or to stick with Arindam Bhattacharya, who had a mixed game versus Mumbai.
Eugenson Lyngdoh is expected to return to the starting lineup after not featuring in the previous match, whereas Adrian Mutu might have to settle with a place on the bench. Ivorian Didier Zokora will once again hold the key in midfield after being adjudged Hero of the Match in the stalemate against their state rivals.
Likely XI: Steve Simonsen; Dharmaraj Ravanan, Roger Johnson, Gurjinder Singh, Nicky Shorey; Didier Zokora, Eugenson Lyngdoh, Jackichand Singh, Manish Maithani; Tuncay Sanli, Kalu Uche.
Florent Malouda vs Didier Zokora
The fixture is all set to be a heavyweight clash between two former Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur midfielders. Both players have been instrumental in their respective team’s high position in the league table and will now face off against each other. It was Malouda who came out on top the last time out in Pune, and Zokora will now be looking to exact revenge.
Malouda has been given a free role by his manager and has played on the wing, behind the striker and even in defensive midfield. He has performed exceptionally well wherever required and has racked up the most number of assists in the league so far. On the other hand, Zokora has been the lynchpin of the Pune City midfield and has showcased his class many a time, with some intelligent passing, expert tackling and menacing forward runs.
John Arne Riise vs Tuncay Sanli
Another battle to savour between two players who have considerable Premier League experience. Riise has been a rock in the Delhi defense and is arguably the primary reason why Delhi have conceded just eight goals so far in the nine games they have played. He has dealt with what has been thrown at him with relative ease and will look to do the same against the team from Pune.
Tuncay has been a key player for David Platt’s side and has featured in every game for them so far this season. Apart from his goals, he also has a physical presence and a tendency to wind up opposition defenders and win fouls for his team. His face-off against the experienced Norwegian will be one to watch out for.
Both teams have not won a game for a while now and will look to attack from the outset in order to gain the initiative. Pune’s away record has been poor and Delhi have been unbeaten at home so far.
Match Prediction – Delhi Dynamos 1-0 Pune City