New Delhi, December 1: Delhi Dynamos FC take on NorthEast United FC in their first home fixture of Hero Indian Super League's fourth season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday (December 2).
Both teams head into the contest on the back of defeats by three-goal margins.
A rampant Bengaluru side beat the Lions 4-1 at the Blues' fortress, while Chennaiyin FC emerged as comfortable 3-0 winners against the visiting Highlanders.
Delhi though did win their first fixture of the season, whereas bottom-most NorthEast are yet to register a victory.
Miguel Ángel Portugal's side played its opening two matches away from home and the Spanish coach is itching to see his boys play in front of their home supporters.
"I know my stadium. Our support, I think, will be the difference because it's good to have fans supporting your team through the entire game. But that will be the only advantage we have in the match. We'll have to play the game the same way as we did in the first two matches," Portugal said at the pre-match press conference.
Portugal also expressed concerns over his team's defensive fragilities at the presser. The Delhi team has conceded six goals in two games. "It's a problem conceding six goals in two matches. But it's not just about our defence; rather, it's about the way we have been defending as a team. I don't like it. Our philosophy is to press well and we have not been doing that and I'm worried about that," he added.
His counterpart, NorthEast United FC coach João Carlos Pires de Deus, said that he wanted his team to play the same way as they did in their first two games, even though they are yet to register any points.
"What I tell my boys is to do the same as we did in the first two games. We created enough opportunities in those two matches. We'll try to do the same against Delhi Dynamos and hope we get a little bit more lucky," the Portuguese coach said.
Deus also spoke about Delhi's attacking threat which boasts of Nigerian forward Kalu Uche and teenage starlet Lallianzuala Chhangte. "They are a good attack. And they have a balanced squad. We have studied our opponents and we'll try to minimise their attacking threat."
Looking at the history, there isn't much between the two teams. In the past six encounters between the two sides, NorthEast United FC have managed one win over Delhi Dynamos FC, while Delhi have gotten the better of NorthEast on two previous occasions.
Matias Mirabaje (Delhi Dynamos FC)
The attacking midfielder has been a leader for the Dynamos in the middle of the park. Confident with the ball at his feet, the Uruguayan has shown his craftiness with his passes and has an eye for goal. He already has a sublime goal against FC Pune City to his credit, and will look to add to his tally by getting forward from midfield against NorthEast.
Lalrindika Ralte (NorthEast United FC)
The Highlanders' attacking midfielder Lalrindika Ralte is a proven performer higher up the field in a central role. He has been used on the flanks occasionally this season, where he has been less effective. However, when in his more preferred role, the 25-year-old has carried the responsibility for his team's attacks and seems to pop up with a chance every time he gets forward. Not shy to try out his luck from range either, Lalrindika will need to make his presence felt against Delhi if the Highlanders want their first win of the season.
Match starts at 8pm IST and is live on Stars Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD