Delhi Dynamos had pulled off a coup of sorts after roping in Italian star and Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero in their roster. Del Piero is probably the biggest name of 2014 Hero ISL. At 40, Del Piero might have been too old, but he is still in touch with football as he played for Sydney FC before joining Dynamos. However, there are reports of him not practicing with the team and he has not played in a single pre season friendly. It would be interesting to see how well will he gel with the rest of the team and how much effort he actually gives on field.
Pune City have also done well by getting David Trezeguet, the Frenchman who has also played with Del Piero in Juventus for more than 10 seasons. He was also part of the French national team when they won the 1998 FIFA World Cup, 2000 Euro Championship and runners up in 2006 FIFA World Cup. He famously scored the golden goal in 2000 Euro finals.
Both the teams had an unbeaten run in the practice matches. Delhi defeated Garhwal FC 3-0, Hindustan FC 9-0 and former I League club Mohammedan Sporting 7-0. However, they received criticism from fans when they walked out of the Pune FC game after they received two red cards. They were leading 2-0 against Pune FC till the 50th minute, when they decided to walk out.
Pune City started slowly with a 1-1 draw against Deccan Rovers, but picked up soon with a 3-1 win against ONGC, winning against Pune’s I League club Pune FC 2-0 and thrashing DSK Liverpool U-19 academy 8-1.
On paper, Delhi Dynamos look slightly stronger upfront with Danish striker Morten Skoubo and Mads Junker spearheading the attack. Dutch coach Harm van Veldhoven will need to use Del Piero intelligently, and probably he will play behind the Danish strikers. Wim Raymaekers will have to play an important role in stopping the Pune attackers. The Belgian defender is yet to concede in the practice matches, but probably has not faced quality opposition yet. Gustavo Marmentini’s dribbling skills may be an asset for Delhi. Experienced Indian players, Shylo Malsawmtulunga and Francis Fernances are expected to play as wingers. Francis Fernandes has received criticism for his poor performances for Indian national team and he would like to prove a point. Among the younger Indian players Shouvik Ghosh may play as the left full back, while striker Manandeep Singh may come as a substitute.
Apart from Trezeguet, the player who can make major difference for Pune is Kostas Katsouranis, who has played more than 100 matches for Greece national team, including the 2014 FIFA world cup. Kostas will play the role of defensive midfielder and can even take more defensive roles in the back line.
Italian Bruno Cirillo will also play important role in the defence, especially with Delhi having some of the best attacking players in the league. Pune City may use the experience of striker Dudu Omagbemi, who has good experience in India and may acclimatize much early than most of the other foreigners. Some of the Indian players to watch out may be Lenny Rodrigues in the central midfield, Pritam Kotal in the righ full back position, Joaquim Abranches in the wing and Arindam Bhattacharya as the goal keeper.
The match may turn into a goal fest as both the teams like attacking football. The key battles will be between Delhi attackers against Pune defenders, and how well Pune transits from defence to offence and catch Delhi on counter.
TV and Live Stream Information
The game will be telecast live in many countries. In India, the game starts at 7.00 pm, will be seen in Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD 2. In India, the game can also be seen in regional channels like Star Jalsa (Bengali), Asianet Movies (Malyalam), Asianet Suvarna plus (Kannada), Star Gold and Utsav (Hindi).
The match can also be seen in many countries through broadcasters like Eurosport 2, beIN Sports, SLGO, Super Sport Select and Fox Soccer2Go.