In-form Delhi, Pune clash in what promises to be an exciting encounter
In their penultimate match of the season, FC Pune City will host Delhi Dynamos FC at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Sunday. Both teams are out of contention for a spot in the semis but given their recent upsurge in form, fans can expect a high-octane encounter.
Pune's drastic improvement since Phil Brown took charge of the club in January has been one to behold. The Stallions are on a six-match unbeaten run, four of which have come under Brown's stewardship. Pune's recent exploits include an impressive 4-1 victory over Jamshedpur in their own backyard and a 1-1 draw against top-four contenders NorthEast United FC despite missing talismanic striker Marcelo Pereira due to a suspension. While this upturn in form may have come a little too late, they will still be looking to maintain their impressive run and end the season on a high. A win from the match will also help them leapfrog ATK to the sixth spot in the table. While it's not quite a top four, finishing in the top six will allow Pune to automatically qualify for the upcoming Hero Super Cup.
The Stallions are all set to welcome back Marcelo, who missed their last outing against the Highlanders due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Defender Matt Mills also made an appearance from the bench against NorthEast after a long injury layoff and may be in the running for a place in the starting XI against Delhi.
During the reverse fixture earlier this season, Pune had to rely on a late equaliser from Diego Carlos to rescue a point against Delhi. However, Carlos will be out of contention for Sunday's match owing to an injury which rules him out for the rest of the season. Midfielder Marko Stankovic, too, pulled his hamstring in the last match against NorthEast and is doubtful for the fixture. Adil Khan will also miss out owing to a suspension. But if their recent performances are anything to go by, fans can expect some attacking football from Brown's men on Sunday despite the absentees.
Here’s a look at Pune’s current season in numbers:
Like Pune, Delhi have also enjoyed a resurgence of late, and have picked up three victories and two draws in their last five matches. The highlight of their season came during their last outing against Bengaluru as the Lions came from behind to beat the table toppers 3-2.
On the attacking front, Delhi do have the ability to cause problems with the likes of Ulises Davila and Lallianzuala Chhangte in their ranks. Daniel Lalhlimpuia did make a big impact against Bengaluru with a brace and will be hoping for a starting berth on Sunday. In defence, Gianni Zuiverloon and Marti Crespi will be tasked with keeping Iain Hume, Marcelo and Robin Singh at bay. Delhi have conceded three goals in their last two outings and will be looking for more stability at the back against a fierce Pune attack.
Gombau will be without the services of midfielder Bikramjit Singh and winger Nandhakumar Sekar for Sunday's tie. Both of them are out with injuries.
Here’s a look at Delhi’s current season in numbers:
FC Pune City: Kamaljit Singh (GK/C), Sarthak Golui, Martin Diaz, Matt Mills, Sahil Panwar, Jonathan Vila, Marcelo Pereira, Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojary, Robin Singh, Iain Hume
Delhi Dynamos FC: Francisco Dorronsoro (GK), Narayan Das, Marti Crespi, Gianni Zuiverloon, Rana Gharami, Shubham Sarangi, Vinit Rai, Marcos Tebar (C), Lallianzuala Chhangte, Ulises Davila, Daniel Lalhlimpuia
DID YOU KNOW?
- Delhi have won just 1 match away from home this season.
- Pune are unbeaten in their last 6 matches (4 wins and 2 draws).
- Delhi are unbeaten in their last 5 matches (3 wins and 2 draws).
Which youngster will have the biggest impact?
- Ashique Kuruniyan
- Lallianzuala Chhangte
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.