Kolkata host Delhi in a crunch encounter
Atlético de Kolkata will be desperate to get their season back on track after two consecutive defeats when they host Delhi Dynamos FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Matchday 24 of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Thursday. Delhi Dynamos FC too will be looking to bounce back after suffering defeat in their last outing against Mumbai City FC. Delhi Dynamos FC are currently two points ahead of Atlético de Kolkata in the table which means a victory for the visitors will consolidate their position on the table, while a win for Atlético de Kolkata will see them leapfrog Delhi.
Atlético de Kolkata so far: W-D-W-L-L
Delhi Dynamos FC so far: L-W-W-W-L
Head-to-Head: Both encounters last season ended in draws. It was 1-1 in Kolkata and 0-0 in Delhi when these two sides last met.
An outstanding performer for Delhi Dynamos FC at the heart of defence, Anas Edathodika is one of the main reasons behind Delhi conceding just five goals so far this season. His ability to pick out a pass from the back also acts as an added boost for the Lions. Edathodika has a passing accuracy of 90% which is on a par with the best amongst the league’s defenders.
The Spaniard has been an influential figure for ATK this season. Always in the thick of things, Lara has found the back of net once and also provided an assist this year. His ability to create chances make him an absolute game changer. Not one to shy away from the ball in defence, the primarily attack-minded playmaker has made four tackles for his side this season.
Sehnaj Singh vs Borja Fernandez
Sehnaj Singh has risen to the occasion and made the most of outings for Delhi Dynamos FC this year. The 22-year-old has shown maturity beyond his years by cementing the midfield slot for the Lions this season. Singh’s possession retention skills has especially turned many heads.
Singh’s battle with Borja Fernandez for midfield supremacy will have a say in the eventual outcome of the game. Two midfielders on the opposite ends of their career, the veteran Spaniard will be hoping to show the youngster a trick or two when both sides square off on Thursday in what is set to be a fascinating encounter for midfield dominance.
Florent Malouda vs Rino Anto
The dynamic Frenchman has lived up to his billing so far in Season 2 of the Hero ISL. Malouda is constantly on the move and has so far attempted an astonishing 337 passes. His vision in the final third has seen him complete two assists for the Lions thus far. The veteran playmaker’s quality from dead-ball situations is another weapon in Delhi attacking arsenal.
Malouda’s propensity to drift into wider areas makes for an interesting battle with ATK full-back Rino Anto, who has been outstanding for the reigning champions this season. The powerful right-back’s overlapping runs have seen him make eight crosses for Atlético de Kolkata in Season 2. Expect Anto’s confrontation with Malouda to have a major say in which way the pendulum swings on Thursday.
Both sides will be going all out in their quest for a win as they bid to reignite their respective campaigns after losses in their previous games. Kolkata and Delhi both have plenty of attacking players in their side but the game is likely to be won in defence. Delhi currently share the best defence in the league with Mumbai City FC, having conceded just five goals so far. Whereas Kolkata have conceded six in five games, a record they must surely improve upon to climb the Hero ISL table.
New game and another three points to play for. I’d prefer to talk about what is crucial or not [only] after nine more games. The situation now is that the team have lost two games but last season, I remember we lost three or four games but still managed to win the league. We have to be calm and progress every day, game by game: ATK coach Antonio Lopez Habas
They already have great players and obviously they are the defending champions. It’s going to be a nice game as we are two teams who like to attack. Obviously our goal is to win and go five points ahead of ATK: Delhi marquee player-cum-coach Roberto Carlos
Atlético de Kolkata: Amrinder Singh, Juan Calatayud, Kunzang Bhutia (Lachungpa), Arnab Mondal, Denzil Franco, Nallappan Mohanraj, Syed Rahim Nabi, José Miguel González Rey (Josemi), José Luis Espinosa Arroyo (Tiri), Rino Anto, Lalchhawnkima, Augustin Fernandes, Sheikh Jewel Raja, Clifford Miranda, Borja Fernández, Ofentse Nato, Jaime Gavilan Martinez, Sameehg Doutie, Arata Izumi, Javier ‘Javi’ Lara Grande, Valmiro Lopes Rocha, Baljit Sahni, Nadong Bhutia, Hélder Postiga (marquee player), Sushil Kumar Singh, Iain Hume
Delhi Dynamos FC: Antonio Doblas Santana, Sanjiban Ghosh, Ishan Debnath, Thokchom Naoba Singh, Prabir Das, Roberto Carlos [marquee], John Arne Riise, Robert Lalthlamuana, Anas Edathodika, Anwar Ali, Anderson Sebastiao Cardoso [Chicao], Shylo Malsawmtluanga [Mama]. Sehnaj Singh, Souvik Chakrabarti, Hans Mulder, Serginho Greene, Zodingliana Tochhawng, Gunasekhar Vignesh, Florent Malouda, Gustavo dos Santos Marmentini, Seminlen Doungel, Robin Singh, Richard Gadze, Adil Nabi, Vinicius Ferreira de Souza