NorthEast to push for ISL semis qualification against Dynamos

Guwahati, Nov 27 (IANS) NorthEast United FC are preparing for a win against Delhi Dynamos here on Saturday which will be a giant step towards their Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final qualification aspirations.

NorthEast United FC finished at the bottom of the ISL table last year and lost three matches in a row at the start of this year’s tournament. But coach Cesar Farias has sparked a remarkable turnaround that sees them in the fourth spot with 17 points from 12 matches. Defending champions Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) top the standings with 20 points from similar number of matches.

A win will virtually guarantee qualification and the coach is relishing the prospect of taking a big step.

“I don’t know the mathematics. I’ve come here for the football,” Farias said during the pre-match media briefing here on Thursday when asked about the qualification points scenario.

“This is a great chance for us, beautiful opportunity. First, we have to focus on Delhi. Every point will be very important,” said Farias.

NorthEast United did well to take a point from FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos’ player-coach Roberto Carlos noticed just how dangerous the team can be.

“NorthEast is a very good team with a good coach and great players. It’s a team with impressive speed and clever players. This will be a good game,” said Carlos.

Dynamos, placed third with 18 points from 11 matches, looked like getting the better of NorthEast in their home match earlier in the tournament until marquee player Simao Sabrosa scored a stunning free-kick and tied the match 1-1. Carlos has not forgotten that late equaliser.

“If Simao had not scored that brilliant goal, I would have chilled out here,” said Carlos.

A talking point for Dynamos all through the league has been the lack of goals. They have scored only 11 goals in 11 matches, the least by any team, but Carlos was not complaining.

“Mumbai (City) and Kerala (Blasters) scored more than us but they are out. Most of the times, the numbers really do not explain everything. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but since the ISL started, Delhi is among the teams in the first four. This is what makes me happy,” said Carlos.

Dynamos still have to play Kerala Blasters (December 3) and FC Goa (December 6) at home in their remaining two matches, while NorthEast United will finish their league engagements with a home clash against FC Pune City on December 2.

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