Millennium Post

Robin’s last gasp goal helps Delhi hold Mumbai 1-1

Local lad Robin Singh struck in the injury time to help Delhi Dynamos hold Mumbai Indians to a 1-1 draw in an eighth round match of the Indian Super League football tournament here on Friday.

India international striker Robin, who came in place of Seminlen Doungel in the 70th minute, scored in the third minute of the added time to snatch one point for Delhi after Fenchman Frederic Piquionne had put Mumbai ahead in the 70th minute at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The goal, which came just a few seconds before the final whistle, gave the nearly 15,000 strong Delhi crowd something to cheer in the match which witnessed fast-paced to and fro action but saw little goal-scoring chances. After on Friday’s draw, Delhi remained on second spot below FC Goa with both teams having collected 14 points from eight matches but the Zico-coached side is on top on the basis of better goal difference.

On the other hand, Mumbai jumped to fourth spot from previous sixth with 11 points from eight matches. They will have to still search for their elusive away win in the ISL as they have failed to register one in the first edition also. It was a cagey first half with both sides not really testing the opposition goalkeeper though there were enough to and fro action at the attacking third. Delhi had better ball possession but Mumbai attack had more thrust with Sunil Chhetri, Sony Norde and Piquionne working in tandem.

Pakistani-origin Adil Nabi, who had his first start in the league for Delhi in place of local lad Robin, had the first go at the opposition goal in the sixth minute but he failed to connect a Souvik Chakrabarti pass.

Six minutes later, Nabi was in the thick of action again and this time also he failed to reach for a Seminlen Doungel downward header off a Florent Malouda floater inside the Mumbai box.  The best chance of the first half came in the 24th minute but a Mumbai striker shot high and wide after he was sent in the clear on top of the Delhi box by Piquionne.

Just the third minute into the second half, Chhetri had a golden opportunity to put Mumbai in the front but his right footer from a decent angle inside the six-yard box was deflected by goalkeeper Antonio Doblas for a corner.

Delhi got their first real chance in the 53rd minute but Malouda’s curling free kick from outside the box was palmed away by goalkeeper Subrata Paul but the ball hit the crossbar before going out. 
The home side kept up the pressure for a while and Doungel failed to make use of a chance as his shot was blocked by a defender. With the home crowd becoming restless without a goal from their side, Delhi coach Roberto Carlos made his attacking intent known as he brought in Brazilian Gustavo Dos Santos and Robin in place of Richard Gadze and Doungel in the 70th minute.

But surprisingly, Mumbai went one goal up immediately after the substitutions with Piquionne finding the target.

Tunisian Selim Benachour’s beautiful through pass from the center of the field went past the Delhi backline and an overlapping Picquionne rounded off goalkeeper Antonio Doblas before sending the ball into the empty net. Delhi went agonisingly close to restoring parity as Robin had a header tipped off by Paul in the 79th minute.

The home side kept trying but the final pass was not coming till the injury time. Four minutes were added by the referee and Delhi found the Mumbai net in the last minute with Robin directing the ball past goalkeeper Paul with his left foot after a free-kick from near the center line.  
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