New Delhi: With impressive back-to-back victories boosting their confidence, Delhi Dynamos would look to build a winning momentum when they take on defending champions Chennaiyin FC in their Indian Super League football match in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The match is also being played at a time when the Capital city has been in the midst of a severe air pollution crisis but both the teams sought to play down the issue.
Delhi snapped their five-match winless streak with a victory against FG Goa (2-0) in an away match on 30 October and then defeated Kerala Blasters in their first home win here to emerge as one of the strong favourites to make it to the play-offs.
After three successive draws, Delhi notched up a clinical 2-0 win over Kerala to record their first home win on 4 November with Kean Lewis and Marcelinho scoring the goals. That took them to the top of the league table before Mumbai City FC dislodged them later.
The Gianluca Zambrotta-coached side are now on the second spot with 13 points from eight matches, just two points less then table toppers Mumbai City FC, and a win tomorrow in the fifth home match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium will again put them at the top of table.
With five goals and four assists to his credit, Marcelinho has become the attacking lynchpin and he has helped Delhi become the most attacking side with 12 goals in the tournament so far.
The home side will also begin Wednesday's match with a psychological advantage as they had beaten Chennaiyin 3-1 in their campaign opener on 6 October.
Zambrotta has asked his players not to put their feet off the pedal as he wanted to seal the knock-out berth at the earliest.
"We are coming off two great matches that we won and we are getting better day by day. We have to remember that our focus and our target is to make it to the playoffs as soon as possible. We have to maintain our form," Zambrotta said at the pre-match press conference.
"In the two matches that we won, I'm most happy about the way we obtained the wins. I think we played a great tactical game, constructed nicely and also created a lot of opportunities.
"Tomorrow will be a tough match against a very good team. It will surely be a great challenge and we will try to do our best. The great thing is that there are no injury concerns and all the players are available one hundred percent."
Asked if his team had training sessions in the midst of severe pollution in the Capital city's air, he said, "We would have wanted the best (weather) situation but unfortunately it was not to be.
"Training at the gym was not enough and our players needed to train outdoors, on the field. Out medical department said it was all right for the players to train outside. We trust our medical department and we did that (train outdoors)."
Chennaiyin have come into the match after three successive draws, the 1-1 result against Pune City FC being the latest. They currently sit fourth on the table.
Assistant coach Syed Sabir Pasha indicated that there could be changes in the starting line-up on Wednesday.
"They (Delhi) are are on a high tempo. I think Marco Materazzi has some plans. There is a chance that we field a different team (from that of previous match)," he said.
Asked about Chennaiyin struggling to get full points, Pasha said, "We were good in all matches but unfortunately have been losing points. We were defending properly but how we take care of conceding goals and is how have we defend in the last minutes is the question."
Chennaiyin striker Jeje Lalpekhlua was asked about the poor air quality at the Capital city.
"About pollution, Delhi faced this kind of situation last year also. We have been preparing well as a team and organisers are taking care of these issues (pollution)," he said.
Materazzi would have counted on the experience of marquee player John Arne Riise and midfielder Hans Mulder, both of whom played for Delhi Dynamos in the past. The experienced duo, however, are reported to be injured and look doubtful for the Wednesday's match.
Updated Date: Nov 09, 2016 15:09 PM