Goa aim to consolidate top four spot with win over resurgent Delhi
FC Goa will go into their away fixture against Delhi Dynamos FC on Monday with an eye on consolidating their position in the top four to further their prospects of securing a playoff spot. The Gaurs, however, will have to earn the three points against a Delhi side, who are in the midst of a mini-resurgence of sorts.
The two teams have faced off on 11 occasions in the past, with Goa coming out on top seven times and Delhi tasting victory only thrice.
After a horrid start to their season, the Lions managed to pick up their first win on the 12th try in their last match before the break. Josep Gombau's men followed it up with their second victory of the campaign with a 2-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC in their first outing after the break. Delhi will be eager to continue the momentum and add another scalp at the expense of the Gaurs.
Gombau fielded a very new-look line-up against Kerala earlier in the week, which saw midfielder Rene Mihelic operating almost as a striker. New signing Ulises Davila played in a no. 10 role behind him while Lallianzuala Chhangte and Nandhakumar Sekar patrolled the left and right wings respectively. With the departure of Pritam Kotal during the January transfer window, Gombau also changed his traditional back four to a back three. The system worked well against Kerala and it will be interesting to see if Gombau opts to redeploy the same scheme against Goa on Monday.
Gianni Zuiverloon was excellent for the Lions against Kerala and his presence in Delhi’s backline will be crucial to keep Goa’s plethora of attacking players at bay. The Dutchman is also a potent goal threat from set pieces.
Here’s a look at Delhi’s current season in numbers:
After a goalless draw against Jamshedpur FC in their first match after the break, the Gaurs were back to their free-scoring best during their 2-0 win over top-four rivals Mumbai City FC in their last outing. Sergio Lobera's men will take that confidence into Monday's match against Delhi. Ferran Corominas was the star of the show against Mumbai City FC, setting up Edu Bedia for the first goal and then winning a penalty and scoring it himself to kill off the contest. He also became the Hero ISL's all-time top goal scorer in the process, overtaking Iain Hume’s tally of 28 goals. The Spaniard, along with the all-star offensive support cast featuring the likes of Bedia, Ahmed Jahouh, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes and Hugo Boumous will look to add to Goa's already impressive goals tally this season. The Gaurs have found the back of the net 29 times - more than any other team in the league this campaign.
One interesting aspect about the Gaurs post the winter break has been their defence. Traditionally, Sergio Lobera's ultra-offensive philosophy focuses on outscoring the opposition, which means the team also concedes a fair few. However, in their two matches after the break, the Gaurs' have looked a lot more compact defensively and picked two clean sheets on the trot. To add context, the Gaurs only managed two clean sheets in their first 11 matches this season, before the two back-to-back shutouts. It's still early days to infer a pattern, but it will be interesting to see if Sergio Lobera and Co sustain with this 'more balanced approach' going forward.
Here’s a look at Goa’s current season in numbers:
Delhi Dynamos FC: Francisco Dorronsoro (GK), Narayan Das, Rana Gharami, Gianni Zuiverloon , Shubham Sarangi, Bikramjit Singh, Nandhakumar Sekar, Marcos Tebar (C), Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ulises Davila, Rene Mihelic
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Mandar Rao Dessai (C), Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Jackichand Singh, Ferran Corominas
DID YOU KNOW?
- Goa have scored the most number goals from crosses (12) this season.
- Delhi have conceded nine goals in the last 15 minutes of matches – the most by any team this season.
- Goa have now kept 4 clean sheets this season, which is 2 more than they did last season.
Which winger will leave a mark in the match?
- Lallianzuala Chhangte
- Brandon Fernandes
Have your say in the comments section below.
Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV at 7.30 PM.