A brace each from Uche and Alfaro result in an entertaining draw
Delhi Dynamos FC and FC Pune City played out a 2 – 2 draw in Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Friday. Kalu Uche gave the Lions the lead twice, but a couple of Emiliano Alfaro penalties ensured that the spoils were shared on the night.
The Lions started attacking from the word go and earned themselves a 10th-minute penalty. Uche stepped up for the spot-kick and gave Pune custodian Vishal Kaith no chance. However, just three minutes later, it were the Stallions who got themselves a penalty after the referee spotted a tussle in the box following a corner. Alfaro took the kick and sent Delhi keeper Arnab Das Sharma the wrong way, as the visitors restored parity.
In the 22nd minute, Delhi got a free-kick from the left flank. Paulinho Dias came up with a good effort from distance, but Kaith was up to his task as he palmed the ball away. But four minutes after the half-hour mark, the Lions got their advantage back. Kaith played a weak pass to defender Rafael Lopez who slipped, allowing Nandhakumar Sekar to nip in and pass it to Uche for a simple tap-in, as the Nigerian made no mistake.
Three minutes before the break, the hosts were unlucky not to have a third. Debutant Simranjeet Singh ran in from the right flank and unleashed a pile-driver of a shot from distance, which unfortunately rattled the crossbar. That proved to be the last bit of action from the opening period as Delhi took the 2 – 1 lead into half-time.
Three minutes before the hour mark, the woodwork denied Delhi a second time. Manuel Arana lifted an overhead ball towards Lallianzuala Chhangte, but the latter’s header was fumbled by Kaith before the ball hit the post.
Six minutes later, Ashique Kuruniyan fed a pass to Marko Stankovic, who hit a powerful shot on target. Sharma managed to parry the ball away right in front of Alfaro, who could not make most of the rebound as a heavy touch and Simranjeet’s block off the line let the chance slip.
Then twenty minutes from time, Matias Mirabaje played the ball to substitute Nandha at the edge of the box, but the latter’s shot across the goal narrowly missed the target. Thereafter, Manuel Arana fashioned a free-kick from just outside the box in the 79th minute, but his shot from an angle was saved by Kaith.
However, that was not the end of action. Four minutes from time, Alfaro was put through on goal and was brought down by Mohammad Dhot. The referee awarded the third penalty of the night and the Uruguayan buried his second spot-kick, although Arnab did get a hand to the effort. That proved to be the last piece of action, as the points were shared with the 2 – 2 result.
Club Award: Delhi Dynamos FC and FC Pune City
Swift Limitless Player: Emiliano Alfaro
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Nandhakumar Sekar
Amul Fittest Player: Manuel Arana
Emerging Player: Isaac Vanmalsawma
Hero of the Match: Kalu Uche
Watch the match highlights here: