14:30 GMT, Tuesday 27th February, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium (Delhi, India), Sab TV UK
After a seven-goal thriller against the defending champions, Delhi welcome their next visitor, Mumbai City FC, who still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs.
Miguel Angel Portugal’s team romped to a 4-3 win over ATK. The team put on a brilliant attacking display taking back the lead after trailing 3-1 at the hour mark.
They’ll be looking to make the most of their late surge in form and pile in some misery for the Islanders, who would need all three points to stay in contention for the semi-finals.
Mumbai too played out an intense match when they faced NorthEast United at home.
With Goa returning to form against FC Pune City, they’ll wary of how slender their chances are to qualify for the playoffs but will want to use the momentum from the last win to take another three points.
Last Time Out
Delhi Dynamos FC 4-3 ATK (Indian Super League)
The Delhi Dynamos and ATK played out an end-to-end match which saw seven goals being scored between the two sides. The Dynamos were more compact in midfield playing a 4-1-4-1 formation which counteracted ATK’s 4-3-3.
The visitors were profligate in possession which ultimately led to Kalu Uche breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute following a scramble in the box, courtesy of a lobbed ball into the box from Seityasen Singh.
After the initial shock, the visitors rallied to equalise from a deflected shot by debutant Sibongakonke Mbatha.
The equaliser seemed to breathe new life into the dithering defending champions and they came out in the second half with all guns blazing scoring two more in quick succession, courtesy of Robbie Keane.
However, from that point forward, it was an all Delhi affair as they piled up attacks on the ATK defence. Seityasen caused them problems more than once, while Lallianzuala Chhangte blitzed through the defence with his pace.
Seityasen turned provider for Kalu Uche who grabbed his second of the night and two minutes later, scorer turned provider, making the score 3-3.
At the mark of the 90th minute, the home side was still tied but the ATK defender’s indecisiveness inside their own box saw Matias Mirabaje score his second of the season, winning the game for Delhi.
Mumbai City FC 3-2 NorthEast United (Indian Super League)
Mumbai was without Balwant Singh against NorthEast United but they still managed to score three goals without their star striker.
Achille Emana started off proceedings in the 15th minute with a piledriver from outside the box.
Five minutes later Highlanders defender Gursimrat Singh's shot from outside the box saw Lucian Goian tap the ball into the back of the net in an attempt to clear it.
Then two minutes before half-time Sambinha helped Mumbai take the lead as he headed home Lalrindika Ralte's corner kick.
However, in the opening minutes of the second half, Everton Santos rallied the Islanders as he struck home Mumbai's equaliser.
The next 40 minutes saw the Islanders make a barrage of attacks on TP Rehenesh's goal but the keeper stood strong blocking out their attempts.
But the skipper vindicated his first-half mistake with a sliding finish on Everton Santos's free-kick, in similar fashion in which he scored the own goal.
Delhi Dynamos FC Lineup
Miguel Angel Portugal’s side's defence might not be the best but their midfield and frontline is firing on all cylinders. Expect an unchanged starting lineup against Mumbai.
Mumbai City FC Lineup
Alexandre Guimaraes persisted with the 3-4-3 formation he had been trying in the earlier weeks. His starting lineup is likely to remain the same except for Balwant Singh coming in for Rafa Jorda.
Key Battle: Seityasen Singh (Delhi Dynamos FC) vs Everton Santos (Mumbai City FC)
Seityasen Singh saw his stock rise last Saturday as he put in an impressive performance collecting a goal and an assist for the Dynamos.
The pacey winger previously plied his trade in the ISL with NorthEast United and has developed into a confident ball-player.
Since the pressure of qualification no longer rests with Delhi, younger recruits like Seityasen and Chhangte can be seen taking more responsibility and initiative. Their performances will be the X-factor for the Delhi side when they take on the more experienced Mumbai.
Incidentally, before the Delhi winger was making a name for himself on Saturday, Mumbai’s Everton Santos put in his best performance of the season on Thursday. Santos too picked up a goal and an assist as he rallied the side to a 3-2 victory.
The Brazilian is comfortable on the ball and loves cutting inside with some slick skills. His partnership with Achille Emana and Balwant Singh will be crucial for the Islanders to take home another three points.
Mumbai face a confident Dynamos side
Miguel Angel Portugal’s team might have crashed out of the tournament but they’re still entertaining fans with some brilliant attacking football.
Without the burden of qualifying for the playoffs, they have raised their game to another level, although their defence has seen none marked improvement.
For a Mumbai side whose season rests on their next game, it will be a tough match to play out, especially being away from home.
While Guiamares will be wary of Portugal’s brand of all-out football, he’ll want to organize his defence carefully and not let them find any gaps.
Prediction: Mumbai City FC 1-2 Delhi Dynamos FC
Mumbai might be the more balanced side but Delhi poses more threat on the ball. It will be a crucial tie for the Islanders and the Dynamos will want to take every opportunity to spoil their party.