ISL: Struggling Chennai, Delhi aim for better outing (Preview)
Chennai : Chennaiyin FC and Delhi Dynamos will look to salvage some pride in the Indian Super League when they face off at the Marina Arena here on Saturday.
Both teams have struggled this season and are placed ninth and tenth respectively. With play-off hopes all but over, the tie will be an opportunity for the out-of-form teams to pick three points and boost their confidence.
Most notably, the teams have been extremely poor in converting chances into goals with the forwards struggling. Jeje Lalpekhlua and Carlos Salom have just one goal between them for Chennaiyin FC while Delhi Dynamos striker Andrija Kaluderovic has also contributed just the lone goal.
"Delhi Dynamos could have really been challenging for a playoff position. They have been dominating matches but missing their chances. A lot of parallels can be drawn with us," said Chennaiyin FC coach John Gregory.
Interestingly, both coaches have used 19 and 20 players this season in the hopes of reviving their campaigns. However, that too hasn't improved their results.
Gregory went on to rue the fact that their title defence has fallen flat, so early into the season, and questioned the motivation levels of this team.
"I'm really amazed to see that no one in the ISL has had the ability to come back and retain the title. I didn't envisage the season to pan out this way. But maybe there hasn't been the same hunger in teams trying to retain the title.
"It appears we won't make it to the playoffs this season. And that is definitely a huge opportunity missed this season."
What is perplexing is the manner in which they haven't really got going at either end of the field. The defending champions have scored a mere eight goals despite seeing a lot of the ball.
All eyes will be on Jeje Lalpekhlua who needs to rediscover his scoring touch ahead of the Asian Cup next month.
On the other hand, Delhi Dynamos have flattered only to deceive. Despite playing an attractive brand of football, the Lions have not been able to see out games. In three of their last matches, they have taken the lead only to concede goals later in the game and lose out on three points.
"We are playing good football. We are creating a lot of chances and not scoring so much. That is a problem. We also have to improve our defence as we are conceding goals," said Delhi coach Josep Gombau.
"Even when we are playing away we are creating chances but not getting the results which are frustrating. We will go with a winning mentality to win the last game of the year."
Gombau will miss the services of Adria Carmona, who is injured and Narayan Das, who has amassed four yellow cards. What would also concern the Spanish coach is that none of his three wingers, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Romeo Fernandes and Nandakumar Sekar, has a single assist to his name.