Chhangte dazzles as Lions stun the Blues in Delhi
Delhi Dynamos FC produced one of the biggest shocks of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 so far after beating Bengaluru FC 2 – 0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Sunday. Lallianzuala Chhangte opened the scoring in the second half, before a late penalty from Guyon Fernandez sealed the points for the Lions.
The Blues began with most of the pressing, but it was the Lions who fashioned the first opportunity in the sixth minute. Chhangte tried to catch Blues’ goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu off guard when instead of trying to cross from the left flank, he went for goal. His effort, however, just sailed over the crossbar.
That spurred the hosts and three minutes later, Nandhakumar Sekar nipped in to dispossess John Johnson, and the ball fell to captain Kalu Uche who took it goal-wards and let fly. But much like the previous chance, it went over the bar.
Sekar then came up with a chance on the quarter of an hour mark when he outfoxed a couple of defenders on the left flank to cut in and take a shot, which took a deflecting off his own player to go behind for a goal-kick.
A couple of minutes later, and the Blues finally came into their stride with a move that should have given them the lead. Dimas Delgado put Harmanjot Khabra through on goal with a delightful defence-splitting pass, but with only Arnab Das Sharma to beat, Khabra shot straight at the goalkeeper.
The 24th minute saw the Lions get their first shot on target as Chhangte charged in from the right flank this time, and his shot from a slight angle was beaten away by custodian Gurpreet at the near post. Chances kept coming for both Delhi and Chhangte, as two minutes later Jeroen Lumu put the 20-year-old through on goal with a lovely pass. The Indian youngster put his shot just wide of the target as the teams went into the break goalless.
Ten minutes after the restart, and the Blues got on the end of a free-kick from near the box which captain Sunil Chhetri struck. His low shot though took a deflection before finding its way into Arnab’s hands. Chhetri was at it again five minutes later and this time he could have turned provider when he lobbed a delightful ball onto the path of Braulio Nobrega to set him towards goal. However, the Spaniard volleyed wide of goal.
Delhi then got an opportunity a couple of minutes after the hour mark when Romeo Fernandes fashioned a shot from the edge of the penalty box, which fizzed wide of the upright. Seven minutes later and from Chhangte’s intelligent pass, Lumu found himself through on goal with only Gurpreet to beat. A scuffed shot though meant that he produced a tame effort.
It was in the 72nd minute when the Lions finally got their reward, and deservedly Chhangte got onto the scoresheet. Pritam Kotal’s deft touch put Chhangte clear on goal, and the latter toe-poked the ball past an on-rushing Gurpreet and into the net.
The Blues should have got the equaliser two minutes from time. Edu Garcia floated in a free-kick from the right and an unguarded Johnson rose high to meet it with a free header. Somehow, the Englishman managed to direct the ball straight to a relieved Arnab who held on to it with ease.
The last piece of action saw Delhi getting a penalty as Subhasish Bose brought down Guyon when the latter had a clear chance at goal. Bose got a straight red following which Guyon himself stepped up and calmly slotted home the spot-kick, sending Gurpreet the wrong way. That put the gloss on the score-line as Delhi pulled themselves level on points with ninth-placed NorthEast United.
Club Award: Delhi Dynamos FC
Swift Moment of the Match: Arnab Das Sharma
DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Pritam Kotal
Amul Fittest Player: Pritam Kotal
Emerging Player: Nandhakumar Sekar
Hero of the Match: Lallianzuala Chhangte
Watch the match highlights here: