New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) Delhi Dynamos will aim to utilise their Indian Super League (ISL) match against Kerala Blasters here on Thursday as a tune-up for their semi-final preparations, having qualified for the play-offs.
Dynamos finished fifth last year and missed qualification for the semis but became the second team after defending champions Atletico de Kolkata to secure a spot in the last four this time with two games to spare.
They have 21 points from 12 games and a chance to top the standings with a win against the bottom-placed Blasters whose campaign has been terrible with just three wins from 13 matches.
Dynamos’ campaign has been structured around a stable defensive unit, led by Norwegian great John Arne Riise, who have conceded the lowest number of goals along with Atletico (14).
Risse and Frenchman Florent Malouda, employed in a central midfield role, have taken over the main responsibility of realising the team’s ambitions.
They have been disciplined at the back and relied on former French international Malouda, capped 80 times for his country, to provide inspiration while going forward. They have banked on a methodical and steady approach to win matches rather than flair and flamboyance.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Roberto Carlos-coached side. The Brazilian legend, himself a distinguished defender in his playing days, has oriented his team around a four-man defensive unit and tried to build up attacks from the back but lack of pace in his ranks has pegged back his plans.
Dynamos are yet to address their goal-scoring deficiencies managing the fewest goals (13) in the competition so far, together with seventh-placed Mumbai City FC.
“The morale of the players is on a high after the last win and we would want to continue with our momentum against Kerala as well. We are looking forward to playing our last two league games in front of our home fans,” Carlos said on Wednesday.
They face FC Goa at home on Sunday in what will be their final group phase match.
Dynamos insisted qualification to the semi-finals won’t be a distraction for the confident team. Riise said their aim is to win the remaining two home matches to build-up a winning momentum ahead of the play-offs.
They defeated NorthEast United FC 2-1 in their last match away at Guwahati while Blasters were drubbed 1-5 at home by Goa.
“We will remain positive despite already qualifying. We want to win the two matches and gain more confidence. We will remain 100 percent competitive,” Riise said on Tuesday.