Delhi Dynamos FC
Fatorda Stadium, Goa
15 December, 2015
Looking to overturn a one goal deficit in a bid to reach the final, FC Goa welcome Delhi Dynamos FC in the return leg. Zico and his players looked calm post the their defeat in Delhi and sounded reasonably confident of making it to the finals and it remains to be seen if they can replicate their confidence on the pitch. Roberto Carlos and his side on the other hand would be looking to do a double over Zico’ s side and reach the finals in style.
Team News And Tactical Brief
Zico admitted in the post match conference that it is a game of 180 minutes and even the players seemed to be preserving their energies for the return leg in Fatorda. Fatorda has been a lucky ground for the Gaurs and another full house is expected for the game. Zico and his side will be looking to score early on in the game to nullify the one goal disadvantage that they have at the moment and hence it is likely that Zico will switch from a 5-3-2 formation to a 3-5-2 formation for the game.
The three man defense will be led by Brazilian legend Lucio who was outfoxed by Robin Singh for the goal in the first leg. Lucio, who otherwise has had a stellar standard will have to keep Indian international Robin Singh under check. Lucio is likely to be accompanied in the defense by 35 year old Gr gory Arnolin. Going by the time spent on the field, the Frenchmen is one of the most important players in the FC Goa lineup and had a good game in the first leg as well. Pronay Halder was far from his best against Delhi Dynamos in the first leg and looks set to be replaced by Bikramjit Singh in the three man defense. Laxmikant Kattimani is not one of the best custodians in the Indian Super League but is the best FC Goa have for the moment and the Dempo player will start under the bar for the Gaurs.
With attack likely to be Zico’ s mantra for this match, the Goan duo of Romeo Fernandes and Mandar Rao Desai will start on the right and left side of the midfield respectively. Both youngsters have troubled the opposition defenders with their pace and trickery and have the ability to stretch the game from the wings. The duo will have to play a key role if FC Goa have to progress to the finals. Jofre was easily FC Goa’ s best player against Delhi Dynamos in the first leg and the former Atletico de Kolkata player will be entrusted with the role of creating the moves for the strikers. 36 year old Leo Moura has spent the most time of the field for FC Goa and has played a key role in their passage to the last four. The Brazilian was not in his elements in the first leg and missed FC Goa’ s best chance to equalize in the first leg. Zico will no doubt expect a better performance from in the match. 21 year old Jonatan Lucca completes the likely five man midfield for the Guars.
Rafael Coelho added spark to the FC Goa attack after he came in for Reinaldo in the previous match and the 27 year old is likely to feature in this match from the start. He is likely to be accompanied in the attack by Thongkhosiem Haokip after CS Sabeeth failed to do anything noteworthy in the last match. Zico and his team will draw inspiration from the fact that FC Goa have been the only team to beat Delhi Dynamos at their home ground in Delhi this season.
Probable Starting XI (3-5-2): Kattimani; Bikramjit, Lucio, Gregory; Mandar, Leo, Lucca, Joffre, Romeo, Rafael, Haokip.
Delhi Dynamos FC
Delhi Dynamos are the only semifinalists who were not in top four last season and having notched up their first ever win against FC Goa in the first leg, the Lions come into this match high on confidence. Though the Roberto Carlos mentored side lost their away match 2-0 to Goa, they have came a long way and will be fancying their chances of making it to the finals. Being an away match. Roberto Carlos is expected to line up with a 4-2-3-1 formation compared to the 4-4-2 used in the home leg.
Delhi have had a settled back four and have been solid at the back largely thanks to the duo of John Arne Riise and Anas Edathodika. While a lot has been spoke about Riise and his impact on the team, Anas’ s performance this season has been one of the talking points of the season. The former Pune FC skipper had a injury plagued last season and was down on confidence but has romped back to his best in the Indian Super League and has earned a place in the probables list for the SAFF Cup. With Souvik Chakraborty out due to an injury, the tough tackling Sehnaj Singh is expected to continue as the right back. Zodingliana Ralte is likely to return to the left back position instead of Robert Lalthlamuana who featured in the last match. Both Sehnaj and Ralte will have a crucial role of keeping Mandar and Romeo under check. Spanish goalkeeper Doblas as has been the trend will start under the goal for the Dynamos.
Hans Mulder and Chicao have featured as defensive midfielders this season for the Dynamos and if Delhi Dynamos have to reach the finals the duo will have to nullify the threat of the Jofre and Leo Moura. French midfielder Florent Malouda has unarguably been the most important player in the Dynamos setup this season. His importance can be gauged from a Francis Fernandes comment that Carlos advises the player to pass the ball to Malouda. With FC Goa, likely to be on the attack, Malouda will be keen to exploit the free spaces in the FC defense. Shylo Malsawmtluanga put in a decent shift on the left flank and created a couple of good chances for the strikers in the first match and looks set to start on the left flank. Dos Santos who troubled Narayan Das throughout the match with his pace and initiated the move which led to the goal will retain his place on the right flank. Richard Gadze who came in for Dos Santos could also be seen in action once again as a second half substitute.
Robin Singh has hit a purple patch with his Delhi Dynamos stint in the Indian Super League. Robin arrived into Indian Super League being widely criticized for his lack of goals for the national team. The Bengaluru FC striker however his silenced his critics with some important goals for the Lions this season including the winner in the first leg where he got the better of Lucio. A away goal early in the game for Delhi could make matters tough for FC Goa and this is what makes Robin’ s role in the team really important.
Probable Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Doblas; Ralte, Anas, Riise, Sehnaj; Mulder, Chicao; Shylo, Malouda, Dos Santos; Robin.
Jofre (FC Goa)
Winner of the the inaugural edition of the Indian Super League with Atletico de Kolkata, Jofre will be the key player for FC Goa as they look for a win in this match. The former Barcelona player is hard to mark and will be looking to create chances for the strikers.
Anas Edathodika (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Anas will be entrusted with the task of keeping Rafael Coelho under the check in this match and if the Kerala born defender can replicate the form he showed in the first leg, Delhi Dynamos will have a good chance of making it to the finals.
FC Goa 3-1 Delhi Dynamos FC
FC Goa scored the maximum number of goals in the group stages and a lot of them came at Fatorda. Backed by a vociferous crowd, The Guars are likely to come out all guns firing in this match. Though they are likely to concede, they are likely to score a lot of them as well. TheHardTackle predicts a two goal win for the hosts.