Chennai, January 6: Chennaiyin FC take on a struggling Delhi Dynamos FC in an Indian Super League game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday (January 7), with a chance to top the standings.
The hosts, with five wins from eight matches, are second on the table with 16 points and a win would put them clearly in front of FC Pune.
A confident Chennaiyin are looking strong under new head coach John Gregory and have recovered well after a loss to FC Goa in the opening game.
The former champions will, however, miss Gregory's services, as he has been suspended for three matches owing to disciplinary reasons. Assistant coach Syed Sabir Pasha is set to step up in his absence.
Despite an inferior head-to-head record against the visiting team, the Chennai side will head into the match with confidence.
While CFC's performance has looked up since the opening loss, Dynamos (on three points) have endured a forgettable campaign so far, winning only a game and losing their other six.
The team has been solid at the back with the duo of Henrique Sereno and Mailson Alves doing a good job while Inigo Calderon and Jerry Lalrinzuala have lent stability to the defence.
Jeje Lalpekhlua has been in good nick upfront and has scored four goals so far. Delhi's defence will be tested by Jeje and the consistent Raphael Augusto.
Chennaiyin have scored 13 goals and conceded five while the Dynamos' tally is five scored and 19 conceded. The Delhi team's defence has been ineffective, to say the least and will face a huge task against Jeje & Co.
Miguel Angel Portugal's Dynamos have lost six games on the trot and will need something special to change the trend against a solid opponent.
It will be the first game of the new year for Chennaiyin and the team will be keen to start with a victory.
🎂 | Celebrations were in place as @sanjaybalmuchu and our club physiotherapist Rajiv Singh enjoyed spending their birthday with the squad!— Chennaiyin FC (@ChennaiyinFC) January 5, 2018
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In their last match at the Marina Arena, the visiting Kerala Blasters denied CFC a win thanks to a last-gasp strike by C K Vineeth.
The team management will be hoping the defence steps up to ensure there is no repeat of the Kerala encounter when the rivals cashed in on a lapse deep into extra-time.