ISL 2017, Match 5: FC Pune City vs Delhi Dynamos FC, Predicted XI
After a mixture of a drab and a pulsating start to ISL 2017, we are set to get the action underway yet again, post a two-day break. Wednesday sees the last match of the first round of matches, as the Delhi Dynamos travel to Maharashtra, to play against FC Pune City, at the Balewadi Stadium, Pune.
Neither of the two sides have been very successful in the ISL over the past seasons, despite having signed some top foreign and Indian stars. Hence, both Pune and Delhi will be looking to give themselves a flying start to this campaign.
FC Pune City
Pune have roped in former Zaragoza manager Ranko Popovic, and the Serbian has already started to wring in the changes.
Their confident manager has even gone on to label his side and Bengaluru FC as the two serious title contenders this season.
Portugal brings a rather modern philosophy of playing football, something that we see mainly in Europe. The 3-4-4 formation has been embraced by a number of clubs across Europe after being revolutionized by Chelsea FC manager Antonio Conte. However, it remains to be seen whether Portugal can rally his man around, to play three at the back.
Pune will look to have a lot of impetus down the flanks, with Fanai and Alfaro doubling up as both midfielders and full-backs. Meanwhile, the likes of Kean Lewis and Baljit Sahni are set to get a lot of freedom on the flanks, while Pune are attacking. However, the main impetus for generating these attacks will fall on former Delhi man Marcos Tebar.
FC Pune City Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Karanjit Singh; Gurtej Singh, Rafael Gomez, Sarthak Golui; Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Jonatan Lucca, Marcos Tebar, Emiliano Alfaro; Kean Lewis, Marcelinho, Baljit Sahni.
Delhi Dynamos FC
The Delhi Dynamos, on the other hand, have embraced the Spanish flavour, by signing Miguel Angel Portugal as their manager. The former Real Madrid B manager will be looking to take the Dynamos to the semifinals this season.
There is a bit of a sub-plot to this contest, as Pune stars Marcos Tebar and Marcelinho had both played for Delhi last season. Portugal had even said on the eve of the match that he tried very hard to sign the duo. However, left without these two star players, Delhi now have to look forward to their season ahead.
Portugal is likely to go for a much simpler formation, as Delhi take on Pune. Gabriel Cichero is set to be the main impetus in defence, while Matias Mirabaje and Jeroen Lumu are set to pull the strings from midfield, along with advanced playmaker Paulinho.
They have two very bright Indian prospects on the wings, with the likes of Romeo Fernandes and Lallianzuala Chhangte, who would be looking to feed the crosses to striker Kalu Uche.
Delhi Dynamos Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Albino Gomes; Sena Ralte, Gabriel Cichero, Pratik Chowdhary, Pritam Kotal; Matias Mirabaje, Jeroen Lumu; Lallianzuala Chhangte, Paulinho, Romeo Fernandes; Kalu Uche.
FC Pune City 0-1 Delhi Dynamos FC
Playing three at the back could be a risky affair, especially when a team is still early in the season, and the players are not too used to playing alongside each other. Delhi could capitalize on the lack of team chemistry (if any) of Pune, and get the three points on board.