Delhi Dynamos and FC Pune City played out an entertaining 1-1 draw on Thursday. Meanwhile NorthEast United face Atletico De Kolkata on Friday with both teams eyeing the top spot on the ISL table.
It was a battle between two struggling sides as Delhi Dynamos hosted FC Pune City in an attempt to secure a win and some form going into the crunch phase of the league. It was a case of Deja Vu as Delhi Dynamos dominated the proceedings and had the better share of chances but failed to convert.
Delhi’s inability to convert saw FC Pune City take the lead on the stroke of half-time with Jesus Tato scoring to put his side ahead. Delhi pushed for the equaliser from the beginning of the second half and the unrelenting pressure finally paid off as attacking midfielder Milan Singh drew his side level with around 10 minutes to go.
Delhi continued to push for the winner but FC Pune City held on for a point, which sees both the teams still languishing in the lower half of the Indian Super League table. Zambrotta needs to rally his side and would look to convert the draws into wins if the Dynamos are to make it into the knockout phase.
NorthEast United vs Atletico De Kolkata
While Thursday’s game was all about two struggling teams needing a win, Friday’s game has two in-form teams on display. While NorthEast United started their season with a blitz but has seen their form arrested, to an extent, Atletico De Kolkata fell to their first defeat of the season in a narrow 1-0 loss at home to Mumbai City FC.
Both the teams are currently in the qualifying places of the table but come into the game on the back of a couple of respective 1-0 losses and will be looking to bounce back in a bid to recapture their form and secure their progress through to the knockouts.
Subrata Paul is an almost guaranteed feature in the first eleven with electric performances in goal for NorthEast United with the Indian veteran leading the league in number of saves at the present moment. His counterpart in Debjit Majumder, though, is not far behind and is third on the list of the number of saves made.
Vingada, though, has some selection headaches at hand. The NorthEast United manager will be without Nico Velez and Romaric with the duo having failed to complete a training session since the last match while Mailson Alves is also having troubles getting back to match fitness.
Robert Cullen and Wellington Priori are the most probable replacements for Velez and Romaric but Vingada may spring up a surprise or two. Atletico De Kolkata, on the other hand, will be without their manager Jose Molino, who was handed a one-game touchline ban for showing dissent against the referee’s decisions. The Red and Whites had struggled in the absence of marquee signing Helder Postiga up-front and the Portuguese’s availability is likely to hand the travelling side a huge boost ahead of the match.
Postiga is likely to take his place up-front with Belencoso the most probable to be dropped to the bench while Iain Hume is likely to go back to operating as a second striker for the Kolkata outfit.
The match is set to be a match between two stars in Emiliano Alfaro and Javi Lara for NorthEast United and Atletico De Kolkata respectively. The foreign duo lead their respective sides in number of goals and attempts and are likely to be the men to watch as the two teams face off at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati.
The Indian fans would be eager to watch Holicharan Narzary, who has been a revelation for NorthEast United.
Probable Lineups :
NorthEast United ( 4-1-4-1 ) : Paul; Chhetri, Zokora, Gustavo, Shouvik; Borges; Cullen, Katsumi, N’dri, Narzary; Alfaro
Atletico De Kolkata ( 4-3-3 ) : Majumder; Prabir, Arnab Mondal, Tiri, Lalthlamuana; Borja, Pearson, Javi Lara; Doutie, Iain Hume, Postiga
NorthEast United 2 – 2 Atletico De Kolkata
It looks like a high scoring game is on the cards as two of the best goal-scorers of the current campaign go head-to-head. While Alfaro has been ably assisted by Narzary and N’dri, Javi Lara has had Doutie by his side and the return to fitness of Helder Postiga will provide some teeth to the Red and Whites attack.
A draw would be the perfect result to justify the form of both the teams but Atletico De Kolkata might just edge it due to the boost received by the return of their marquee signing. Kolkata have shown in the current campaign that they are more than capable of coming back from behind and Friday’s game at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium might just witness another account of the same.