ISL semifinal: Kerala Blasters look to blunt Delhi Dynamos’ attacking power
Much has been made of Delhi Dynamos’ attacking verve this season. The team from the capital has scored 27 goals in their 14 Indian Super League-3 group matches. By contrast, their semifinal rivals on Sunday, have managed just 13 goals.
Leading Delhi’s charge has been forward Marcelinho, who has scored nine goals, four more than any other player this season, beside assisting four more.
However, despite his evident threat, Kerala Blasters’ defensive strategy will not focus on the Brazilian, according to defender Sandesh Jhingan.
“Not just Marcelinho, Delhi has a lot of other quality players too. They have Florent Malouda and Richard Gadze as well. But it’s important that rather than focussing on one player, we focus on defending as a team. We believe in our system. If we play to our system, we’ll surely get the result we want,” Jhingan told HT on Saturday.
The volume of goals scored by them thanks to the freeflowing attacking philosophy espoused by their manager Gianluca Zambrotta should be daunting for any defence. With the second leg being played at home, one would have expected a manager to opt for the pragmatic approach and try to play for a draw. However, the Italian summed up his mindset for Sunday’s match, as also for the season, with a casual, “We never play for a draw, That’s my philosophy.”
“They’ve scored the most goals in the season so definitely they have one of the finest attacks. But at the same time the are leaking goals at the back,” Jhingan pointed out.
Despite the vociferous crowd support they will get on Sunday, history has not been too kind to Kerala in these encounters. They have never defeated the Dynamos at home.
The hosts’ manager Steve Coppell, however, insisted that they won’t change their tactics despite the form their rivals are in and their own failures at home against Delhi.
“They are what they are and we are what we are. We have to be adventurous but also be cautious. It’s not how you do it, it’s that you do it. We have more points than we did in the previous two seasons. We have also won more games at home than we did in the previous two seasons,” the Englishman said.