In their first home game, Delhi Dynamos FC shared the spoils with NorthEast United FC as the game ended 1-1 with Kean Lewis and Emiliano Alfaro getting their names on the scoresheet at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Saturday.
In front of a crowd of 27,463, Dynamos began fiercely at home dominating the game play for the first five minutes. Their first corner came in the third minute itself but Paul put it away easily.
Despite Delhi’s efforts, their passes were hasty because of which, they failed to pose any real threat to the visitors.
As the crowd rose to cheer for the away team, NorthEast United took control of the game and troubled the home team immensely.
NorthEast United’s prime forward Emiliano Alfaro looked particularly dangerous as he cut through the Dynamos’ defence on many occasions.
Delhi looked to counter the pressure that NorthEast were building through the quality of Marcelinho and Gadze on the front. In the 16th minute, Marcelinho twirled with the ball on the right and passed it across to Moura, who under pressure from NorthEast defence failed to make the most of the chance. Subsequently, Marcelinho headed the corner just wide.
As NorthEast danced in the Delhi half, Yusa went down in the penalty area in the 18th minute and was booked for simulation.
In the next minute itself, Delhi acquired three chances at the goal through the combination of Milan, Lewis, Gadze and Marcelinho but failed to find the net.
For the next 15 minutes, Delhi was forced completely on the back as NorthEast troubled through Alfaro, Velez and Ndri.
In the 25th minute, Delhi defence went still as Yusa’s shot from the right went just wide.
NorthEast continued to pressurize Delhi until the 35th minute when Marcelinho surged forward cutting through two defenders. Post the effort, Delhi got a corner and in the 38th minute, Kean Lewis broke the deadlock for Delhi as he found the back of the net. Marcelinho’s corner was judged wrongly by Paul and as Lewis found the ball at the far post, he struck it into the far corner.
In the 41st minute, Ndri took the free-kick towards the left on target but the tall Delhi goalkeeper Doblas stretched out and punched it out.
Deep into the first half injury time, Alfaro got brilliant chance to equalize as NorthEast went on a classic counter attack with Halicharan’s pace on the right flank but surrounded by defenders, Alfaro failed to capitalise.
The second half began with NorthEast in control as Delhi looked to be n the back. Soon, in the 51st minute, Ruben made a disastrous error of giving the ball away to Velez on the left. As Doblas went on the left to catch hold of the ball, Velez put the ball out for Alfaro in the centre who netted in the second attempt after his first got blocked by Chinglensana.
The rest of the match went slow as the players started to look tired. Towards the end, both Delhi and NorthEast missed close chances to seal a victory.
Gadze, despite looking slightly tired late in the second half, was substituted with Badji very late and on being questioned the same, coach Zambrotta said, “Gadze was important characteristically and Badji has a different style of play. It’s all about the tactics. I’m very happy with the game that Gadze had.”
Delhi will next host Mumbai City FC on October 18 while NorthEast United will play Chennaiyin FC at home on October 20.