Chennaiyin, Delhi Dynamos in thrilling 2-2 draw
Chennaiyin FC and Delhi Dynamos FC played out a scintillating 2-2 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Tuesday in a match that produced some stunning goals. Chennai got off to an excellent start with Bruno Pelissari and Jeje Lalpekhlua putting them comfortably ahead in the first session. Delhi hit back in the second period through Alessandro Del Piero’s excellent free-kick and Hans Mulder’s drive from outside the area.
Delhi were the brighter of the two teams at the start of the game as they needed a win to qualify for the knockout phase and set about attacking with purpose. They did threaten time and again but were unable to make the most of their chances. It was Chennai who took the lead out of the blue. Adil Khan blocked Jeje Lalpekhlua from running on to a loose ball in the box and hit it out for a corner. The Brazilian Pelissari stepped up and curled his kick directly past Kristof Van Hout and into the far corner for a sensational opener in the 16th minute that set the hosts on their way. Things didn’t get better for the visitors following the goal as Mads Junker went down with an injury and was replaced by Alessandro Del Piero. In the 28th minute Jeje doubled his side’s lead after an excellent move by the home side with the ball swinging from left to right before Jeje ran into the final cross and hit it past Van Hout on the run.
The away side came out in the second half with intent and pulled one back in the 53rd minute when Del Piero was brought down on the edge of the box to the left. The Italian stepped up and curled a precise free-kick into the top left corner for his first goal of the tournament. As the game reached its closing stages, the pressure from Delhi increased and they did manage to find a superb equaliser when a free kick was only half cleared. It sat up nicely for Mulder who ran on to it and smashed it past Gennaro Bracigliano from the edge of the area to make it 2-2. Gustavo Dos Santos almost got the winner for the visitors when he curled a beautiful shot past the keeper which hit the upright and ricocheted back into play.
With 18 points, Delhi’s hopes of a semi-final berth now hinge on the result of the match between Kerala and Pune. A draw there could see them go through. Chennai still sit on top of the league with 23 points but FC Goa could overhaul them if they beat Atlético de Kolkata away on Wednesday.
Hero of the Match: Jeje Lalpekhlua (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)
Swift Moment of the Match: Hans Mulder (Delhi Dynamos FC) (Watch here)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Balwant Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Jeje Lalpekhlua