Delhi Dynamos managed to record only their second victory of the 2018-19 Indian Super League campaign with a sound 2-0 win over fellow table-bottom-mates Kerala Blasters on Thursday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
In the 29th minute, it was Gianni Zuiverloon who put the hosts in a dominant lead while Rene Mihelic scored an injury-time spot-kick to seal all the three points for the winners. The game ended on a bitter fashion for the visitors, with Lalru Atthara being sent off.
Dynamos went ahead with handing the New Mexican signing Ulises Davila a place up top India international Narayan Das was brought back in a three-man defence formation in their first game post the winter break.
Kerala Blasters’ head coach Nelo Vingada stick to the same side that had managed to salvage a draw against ATK last week.
“Bad luck struck again.”
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Although the game was more or less balanced in the initial minutes, the hosts were better than their opponents when it came to attacking. Davila was in the mix of it all, having already had three goes in the first 20 minutes.
Joining him was the left-winger Lallianzuala Chhangte, who was a headache for the most part of the game for Cyril Kali, with frequent run-ins and peppered crosses into the box.
The duo almost came up with the first goal of the evening in the 24th minute only for the 27-year-old to fail to tap in from 2 yards from what was a brilliant a low cross.
Quite deservedly, Dynamos got their break in the 29th minute with Cyril Kali giving away a corner that would go on to prove too costly for his team. In the following moments, Rene Mihelic crossed in a brilliant flag kick meant for an unmarked Zuiverloon. The Yellows could only helplessly watch as the Dutch Defender volleyed the ball into the back of the net.
Delhi almost doubled their lead in the very next minute after Mihelic hit the ball from a speedy low-cross from Nandhakumar Sekar. Unfortunately, though, the ball went wide.
Thanks to their superior attacking, Dynamos had already hit 13 shots in comparison to Kerala’s solitary shot on target.
Having been outwitted tactically in the first half, the Blasters started the second more promisingly.
Within only two minutes after the kickoff, the team had its first major chance on goal through a set-piece situation.
Slavisa Stojanovic hit the ball from the free kick only for Nemanja Lakic-Pesic to head the ball hard that came off the crosspiece.
The game soon turned disorganized with chances being created rarely. Mihelic did have a go at the goal in the 69th minute from a freekick, but he could only manage to scratch the top-netting.
Lalruatthara was sent off by the referee in the dying minutes of the game after he slammed into Chhangte from behind. The latter had made an interesting run into the box after pouncing on Sahal Samad’s erroneous backpass.
Dheeraj Singh had little to do in the penalty kick as an experienced Mihelic sent the keeper in the wrong direction, sealing a rare win in the stoppage time.
As a result of this, Delhi Dynamos overtook Blasters into 8th position with a superior goal difference.