Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi
11 December, 2015
The second season of Indian Super League now has entered in the play off stage and the form of the team in this stage does not matter. It is all about which team perform better on the course of two night and 180 minutes will decide who will enter the finals of the tournament. FC Goa will be up against Delhi Dyanmos while Athletico de Kolkata will face Chennayin FC in the other semi-finals. This will be first time for Delhi Dynamos in the knock out phase while other three were part of play off last season. In the opening leg Delhi Dynamos will host FC Goa at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
Team News and Tactical brief
Delhi Dynamos FC
Delhi Dynamos put their last season disappointing performance behind and started their pre-season with signing Roberto Carlos as their player-Manger. There were doubt over his ability to manage the team but the Brazilian legend has put a great show for the fans and management. The team played good brand of football and were able to enter the knock out phase without much of hiccups.
Delhi has been successful this season thanks to their defensive line up which is well marshaled by John Arne Riise. The Dynamos looks a formidable team when they play with compact defense. They are very hard to break. Having Anas in the defense has helped Delhi utilized foreign players in more forward positions. The Kerala lad has been impressive for the Dynamos and looked solid with his partnership with Riise. Sauvik Chakroborty and Sehnaj Singh have done decent job on their new position as full back. Both had decent outing in the league phases. Both will have to perform beyond their usual to stop the highest scoring team – FC Goa.
There has been lot of shuffle in the midfield of the team but Frenchmen Florent Malouda has been a regular name on the team sheet. The Frenchman has played in the hole providing the balls to the forwards. He has been the key player for the Dynamos. He has been instrumental in almost all goals scored by the team. His pinpoint passes and crosses have helped Dynamos forward to score goals. Defensive midfielder Chicao and Hans Moulder have been instrumental in the link up play between the defenses and forwards. Both have done the twin duty of shielding defense and moving up time to time very well.
Robin Singh has been a revolution this season for the club and his own career. The Indian international was under huge criticism from all corners for lack of goals. The striker has played a crucial role in the fortunes of Delhi scoring few goals and playing number 9 role perfectly. He has been partnered well by Dos Santos, Gadzie and Adil Nabi. The trio did not featured together for most of the games and have been rotated well by Roberto Carlos. All three have goals to show and it will be tough decision to bench one of them. Having said that Delhi Dynamos find themselves in a pot of trouble as it has been reported that some players are not happy with the team managment. There are news that Brazilian contingent in the team is not happy with the management. This could create bit of problem for the team in the semifinals.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Doblas, Sehnaj, Anas, Riise, Souvik, Moulder, Chicao, Malouda, Len, Gadzie, Robin.
FC Goa is the most unpredictable side in the top four of the league. Having topped the league the Gaurs will have confidence of getting the job done but going through their past performance it will be difficult for anyone to predict how they will play. Sometimes they looked brilliant on the field with their typical Goan style of football and on other occasion they looked completely clueless conceding goals. This unpredictability will be problem even for the rivals since they would not have idea of what they would be up against.
FC Goa has been plagued by injuries throughout the season and this has not helped Zico to have a settled line up. The team has seen repeated changing and chopping. On a positive side of it there has been lots of goals scorer for the team and which could be bonus for the team. Having said that, Goa will have their full team at their disposal to select for the first leg of the semifinals. Defense will be an ssue for Goa as they have looked weak at times at the back. Brazilian legend Lucio has been stand out performer for the Goans but he has to get good support from Gregory and Pronoy Halder if FC Goa are to contain Delhi Dyanmos. Kattimani will be starting for the Gaurs. He has looked shaky a times but is the best option they have at the moment.
Goa is known for their typical passing game, and midfield is USP of the team. The midfield led by Brazilian Leo Moura has looked smooth. Having three creative players like Lucca, leo and Joffre has kept the strikers busy. The trio even has chipped with some crucial goals. If the trio clicks it does create havoc in the defense of opposition. Leo Moura specially has been the stand out performer in the league for FC Goa. The attacking midfielder has most assist on his name in the league and completed most number of passes in the league. The number 10 if given space could prove deadly for the opponents. His vision and creativity has been the man reason for FC Goa’ s success.
Even though Goa hardly had a settled striker throughout the league, all the strikers have goals on their name. However they have been guilty of not converting the chances created by the midfield at times. The return of Rafeal Coelho from injury will be great for Zico. The Brazilian striker was on injury list after showing some great football in the few matches he played.
Probable Starting XI (3-5-2): Kattimani, Pronoy, Lucio, Gregory, Mandar, Leo, Lucca, Joffre, Bikramjit, Rienaldo, Sabeeth.
John Riise (Delhi Dyanmos FC)
The former Liverpool defender is a vital cog in the Delhi lineup. Delhi is not known for scoring lot of goals and that makes it even more important to guard their defense. Riise has to be at his best as center defender to make sure team does not concede goals against the most attacking team of the season.
Leo Moura (FC Goa)
The Brazilian in his new role as attacking midfielder has been fantastic in the league. He has created most number of chances in the league and holds the record of completing most number of passes. His vision and craft is an integral part of FC Goa’ s attacking play as he creates a lot chances for the strikers.
Delhi Dyanmos FC 0 a 1 FC Goa
Despite playing at home, Delhi Dynamos are likely to be affected by their internal issues. They are known to keep things tight at the back and on the other hand Goa may look to play safe in the first leg. The HardTackle predict slender victory for visitors.