Preview: Chennaiyin host Delhi Dynamos in a battle of Italian legends

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Matchday 6 of the 2016 Hero Indian Super League will see Chennaiyin FC face Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. The Super Machans head into the encounter against the Dynamos having already secured their first point of the season after an entertaining 2-2 draw against Atlético de Kolkata on Sunday. Delhi Dynamos FC, on the other hand, will be playing their first match of Hero ISL 2016. The match is also the first time FIFA World Cup winning Italian legends Gianluca Zambrotta and Marco Materazzi face each other as Zambrotta makes his Hero ISL debut in the Lions dugout.




Head to head: The Dynamos have beaten the Super Machans twice in four meetings so far. Their 4-1 and 1-0 wins in Hero ISL 2014 and Hero ISL 2015, both came at home though. Chennai’s only win against the Lions was a 4-0 victory last season. The other game between these two teams ended in a 2-2 draw.

John Arne Riise vs Richard Gadze

Chennaiyin FC’s marquee man, John Arne Riise, who played for Delhi last season, and Bernard Mendy make for a formidable centre-half pairing at the back for the Super Machans. Riise’s wealth of experience and familiarity with the Lions squad can be crucial for Chennai as they look to contain the abundance of attacking talent at the Dynamos’ disposal.

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Richard Gadze will have to step up for Delhi this season if the Lions are to repeat or better their semi-final appearance from last year. The Ghanaian striker made a massive impact for the Dynamos last season, scoring four goals and providing two assists. Gadze will come up against his former team-mate Riise on Thursday and will be looking to get one up on the legendary Norwegian.

Hans Mulder vs Bruno Pelissari

Another former Delhi Dynamos player, Hans Mulder is one of few players to have played all three seasons of the Hero ISL and his experience will be pivotal at the heart of the Super Machans midfield this season. A hard-working and energetic midfielder who loves to cover all areas of the pitch, Mulder also brings his fair share of attacking invention to the side as his five goals and one assist in the league so far suggest.

Hero ISL 2016 could be Bruno Pelissari’s biggest season yet as he looks to emerge from the shadows of Elano, who occupied the same position as Pelissari for Chennaiyin in the past two editions of the league. The upcoming season could be his breakthrough year with the Dynamos as he looks to take on the mantle of being one of the Lions’ main men in midfield alongside Florent Malouda.

Jeje Lalpekhlua vs Anas Edathodika

As the top-scoring Indian in the history of the league, expectations from Jeje Lalpekhlua are at an all-time high. Lalpekhlua’s calmness and composure on the ball is what separates him from the rest. Never in a hurry with the ball at his feet, Lalpekhlua is just as good at creating goals as he is at scoring them. The Lions will have to keep him quiet if they’re looking for a positive result.

Anas Edathodika will have to organise and lead the Dynamos backline this year. A no-nonsense defender who loves to tackle, Anas will have his hands full with an array of attacking talent in Chennaiyin’s squad coming his way. Blessed with pace and a commanding presence in the air, Delhi will be looking for a big performance from him to kick-start their campaign.

Squads:

Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit Singh, Pawan Kumar, Duwayne Kerr, Bernard Mendy, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Nallappan Mohanraj, Eli Sabia, Eder Monterio, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Abhishek Das, John Arne Riise, Baljit Sahni, Hans Mulder, Manuele Blasi, Thoi Singh, Raphael Augusto, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Dhanpal Ganesh, Davide Succi, Maurizio Peluso, Bedashwor Singh, Uttam Rai, Jeje Lalpekhlua

Delhi Dynamos FC: Antonio Doblas Santana, Sanjiban Ghosh, Soram Poirei, Ruben Gonzalez Rocha, David Addy, Ibrahima Niasse, Anas Edathodika, Chinglesana Konsham Singh, Lalchhawnkima, Lalruatthara, Rupert Nongrum, Souvik Chakraborty, Florent Malouda, Bruno Augusto Pelissari de Lima, Marcos Tebar, Emerson Gomes de Moura, Denson Devadas, Milan Singh, Malsawmzuala, Richard Gadze, Badara Badji, Arjun Tudu, Marcelo Leite Pereira, Kean Lewis, Amoes Do

 

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