Business Standard

Indian Super League 2018-19: FC Pune City hope to break Delhi Dynamos jinx

The Pune squad seems to be a settled and strong outfit and Portugal will be expecting a positive start. However, Delhi's youthful exuberance and energy will be an asset for Gombau

BS Web team & Agencies 

Delhi Dynamos vs FC Pune City
Delhi Dynamos vs FC Pune City (Photo: Indiasuperleague.com)

Old friends will turn foes as Dynamos host in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2018-19 in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in on Wednesday.

At the centre of attention will be visiting coach Miguel Angel Portugal, who was in charge of the home team last season. The Spaniard could only guide Dynamos to an eighth-place finish in what was ultimately a disappointing season.

Subsequently, he left Dynamos and was then roped in by He will have a point to prove against his former club and starting the season with a win over them will be high on his agenda.

replaced Portugal with another Spaniard, Josep Gombau, who has revamped the club's foreign contingent to supplement a promising group of Indian youngsters.

The Pune squad seems to be a settled and strong outfit and Portugal will be expecting a positive start. However, Delhi's youthful exuberance and energy will be an asset for Gombau.

The hosts will try to notch up a win in front of their home supporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

FC Pune City, who finished fourth last season, will hope to break their Delhi jinx.


MANAGERS SPEAK: "Everyone's target is to win and mine is no different. We want to be challenging from the beginning," said a confident Gombau.

He has signed four of his compatriots, with the capture of a much-talked about one. Tebar played for Pune last season and now returns to Delhi for a second stint with the club. He was exceptional as an anchor in midfield last season and Gombau will expect him to continue that form against his former employers.

"Marcos is a very good player. He has the potential to build this project. Apart from that, he is a good guy. He is friendly with everybody. Indian players look up to him. This type of player who has an open mentality to help is very important for the squad," said Gombau.

Pune City have a star cast in terms of overseas signings and will have a luxury of attackers at his disposal.

"For me, it's another challenge. My thanks to Delhi. I was really happy there but now I have signed for Pune. I have confidence in Pune. We have very good players. We will try to improve. It's not easy but I have confidence in our philosophy," said Portugal.

Marcelinho and Emiliano Alfaro should lead the line upfront. They are a lethal pair, as they proved last season and Delhi's defence will have a battle on their hands.

With pacy wingers in and set to play on the flanks, Delhi's full-backs have to be on their toes.

New head coach Joshep Gambau will be relying on their new recruits in the midfield including Bikramjit Singh, Mihelic and Spaniards and Adria Carmona to secure them the three points.


SQUAD: After Ranko Popovic resigned, the Pune outfit appointed Brazil U-17 and U-20 World Cup winning-coach Marcos Paqueta, but within a month the Brazilian too terminated his contract. The club quickly brought in Miguel Angel Portugal, who had left Delhi Dynamos at the end of last season.

The club had relied on captain Marcelinho and his deputy Alfaro to take the team forward last season, but Pune have addressed the over-reliance on their attacking pair by signing Iain Hume, ISL's all-time top-scorer, as well as India international Robin Singh to take some of the pressure off the duo.

Forward Ashique Kuruniyan, who impressed with a string of performances last season will also be keen to pick up from where he left.

Pune also have the experienced pair of and Keenan Almeida to boost their defence.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Delhi Dynamos enjoy a good head-to-head record against the visitors -- have managed to defeat Delhi only once in their eight encounters and the hosts would want to keep the record intact.

HERE'S DELHI DYNAMOS' 25-MEMBER SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Francisco Dorronsoro, Shayan Roy

Defenders: Amit Tudu, Gianni Zuiverloon, Jayananda Moirangthem, Marti Crespi, Mohammad Dhot, Narayan Das, Pradeep Mohanraj, Pritam Kotal, rana Gharami

Midfielders: Adria Carmona, Bikramjit Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Marcos Tebar, Nandhakumar Sekar, Rene Mihelic, Romeo Fernandes, Shubham Sarangi, Siam Hanghal, Vinit Rai

Forwards: Andrija Kaludjerovic, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Seiminmang Manchong

HERE'S PUNE CITY FC'S 25-MEMBER SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Anuj Kumar, Kamaljit Singh, Vishal Kaith

Defenders: Ashutosh Mehta, Gurtej Singh, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai, Martin Diaz, Matt Mills, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Sahil Panwar, Sarthak Golui

Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Adil Khan, Alwyn George, Jonathan Vila, Marko Stankovic, Rohit Kumar, Shankar Sampingraj

Forwards: Diego Carlos, Emiliano Alfaro, Jakob Vanlalhlimpuia, Marcelo Pereira, Ashique Kuruniyan, Nikhil Poojari, Robin Singh

Delhi Dynamos enjoy a good head-to-head record against the visitors -- FC Pune City have managed to defeat Delhi only once in their eight encounters and the hosts would want to keep the record intact.

First Published: Wed, October 03 2018. 08:14 IST