ISL 2017/18: Delhi Dynamos aim to fight for survival as they take on table-toppers Bengaluru
It was no surprise when Delhi Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal declared that his team will treat the match against table toppers Bengaluru FC on Sunday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as “a final”. After all, they are on the brink of elimination from the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL).
A defeat against Bengaluru will essentially mark the end of the campaign for the home team. Naturally, Portugal had a glum look on his face as he walked into the press conference room. On being asked how his team will approach tomorrow’s match, he said, “The semi-finals are almost out of our reach and this match is our only chance of keeping the hope alive. So we have nothing to lose in this game. For us now this match is like a final.”
Of course, it is easier said than done.
The Dynamos have had a very disappointing season so far, losing seven of their nine matches. In the last match, they dominated possession, created the chances but eventually, ended up losing 1-3 to Kerala Blasters. That has been their case this term.
Talking about the Kerala game Portugal said, "We deserved more from the game. We played good. We had 70% of the ball possession. Kerala took their chances and the game ended 3-1."
Despite his team’s lack of form, the Spanish manager backed his players and revealed that he was not looking to make any changes in the team. “Well, for the next match, I have almost the same team. I think my players have executed the plans well,” he said.
Bengaluru, on the other hand, have been enjoying a far better season than their opponents. They come into the match on the back of two successive wins over ATK and Kerala. Having won six of their nine games so far, they are comfortably perched right on top of the ISL table and the players are brimming with confidence.
However, coach Albert Roca is not taking anything lightly. On being asked if it will be a relatively easy fixture for his team given the recent form of the two teams, Roca said, “I have a lot of respect for their coach Portugal. They have been playing good football but they have been unlucky at the same time. We'll have to wary of their threats.
“I know that the results have not gone Delhi’s way this season. But they are still a good side who want to play good football and it will be stupid of us to take them lightly.”
The transition from I-League to ISL was never going to be easy for Roca’s men. However, having players like Sunil Chettri and new signing Miku in fine form has been really helpful.
Roca was full of praise for this team at the press conference as he said, “We have some of the best players in the country. We have the captain of the national team but you still have to make a team out of it. So we have to keep learning and improving especially tomorrow to get the right result.”
Also, that Bengaluru were able to hold on to their core group of players at the draft, has proved to be crucial for them. The coach accepted that he was lucky to have almost half of his previous squad at his disposal.
“We were lucky to get some many of our former players back in the squad. That meant that we had more time to plan our strategies and the familiarity helped the players too,” Roca concluded.