Chennaiyin, Delhi face off in a battle for pride
Chennaiyin FC and Delhi Dynamos FC will be desperate to end the calendar year on a high when they face off against each other at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. The match will be their final fixture before the long winter break kicks in.
Both sides are unlikely to make it to the playoff stage owing to horrid starts to their respective campaigns, but will be playing to salvage some pride.
Chennaiyin came into the Hero Indian Super League 2018-19 as the reigning champions, but the title defence has gone terribly wrong for John Gregory's men. Despite retaining most of the core players from last season's championship winning side, Chennaiyin have struggled and are currently ninth in the table with just five points from 11 outings. Their one and only win this season came back in November 6 against FC Pune City.
Despite featuring names like Mailson Alves, Inigo Calderon and Eli Sabia in defence, the two-time champions have the joint-worst defensive record this season alongside Pune. Both teams have let in 21 goals this season. Even more worrying for Chennaiyin, is their forward line's lack of form. The three strikers - Jeje Lalpekhlua, Carlos Salom and Mohammed Rafi - have contributed just a single goal to their team's cause this season. Much of the scoring responsibility has been taken over by midfielder Thoi Singh, who is the team's top scorer this season with four goals. Chennaiyin have found the back of the net on only 12 occasions this season.
Here’s a look at Chennaiyin’s current season in numbers:
Much like their opponents, Delhi are enduring a nightmarish season. The Lions have failed to win even a single match so far this campaign and are rooted to the bottom of the table with just four points from 11 outings. What's even more worrying for Josep Gombau's men is the fact that they have performed well on the field in their last few matches creating a lot of chances, but have failed to translate them into points. The Lions are currently on a four-match losing streak, largely prompted by their wastefulness in front of goal and a tendency to let in soft goals.
Lallianzuala Chhangte has been Delhi's only silver lining this season. The young winger has looked impressive on the field and is the team's highest goal scorer with four goals to his name.
Delhi will be without two key players on Saturday. Adria Carmona, who sustained an injury in Delhi's last match against Jamshedpur, is likely to miss out and left-back Narayan Das will be unavailable due to a suspension because of accumulated yellow cards.
Here’s a look at Delhi’s current season in numbers:
CHENNAIYIN FC: Sanjiban Ghosh (GK), Inigo Calderon, Eli Sabia, Mailson Alves (C), Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa, Raphael Augusto, Germanpreet Singh, Andrea Orlandi, Thoi Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua
DELHI DYNAMOS FC: Albino Gomes (GK), Pritam Kotal (C), Marti Crespi, Gianni Zuiverloon, Rana Gharami, Marcos Tebar, Vinit Rai, Nandhakumar Sekar, Rene Mihelic, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Andrija Kaludjerovic
DID YOU KNOW?
- Out of the 21 goals Chennaiyin have conceded this season, 14 have come in the first-half.
- Delhi have lost their last four matches.
- Delhi have just won twice in their last 14 away matches.
Can Delhi finally pick up their first win of the season?
Have your say in the comments section below.
Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV from 7:30 PM.