Chhangte shines as Delhi beat Pune in five-goal thriller

Delhi Dynamos FC beat FC Pune City 3-2 at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium in Pune on Wednesday. Paulinho Dias opened the scoring for Delhi in the 46th minute, while Lallianzuala Chhangte and Matias Mirabaje netted in the 54th and 65th minute, respectively. Emiliano Alfaro scored Pune’s first goal of the match in the 67th minute and Marcos Tebar netted their second in injury-time.

After a cagey start to the contest, the first chances of any note in the game went Pune’s way. Alfaro couldn’t quite get his head on a cross from the right in the 22nd minute, while Baljit Sahni failed to keep his shot at goal on target moments later after Marcelinho had done brilliantly to put him in on goal.

Alfaro went clear of Delhi’s defence and had only the goalkeeper to beat nine minutes later but Albino Gomes was quick off his line to thwart the danger. Pune continued to see more of the ball as the half progressed but couldn’t create any further clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities before the half-time whistle.

Paulinho scored for Delhi straight from the restart to leave the hosts stunned and give his side an early second-half lead. Chhangte whipped in an inviting ball from the left flank, which Paulinho headed beyond a helpless Kamaljit Singh to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.

They nearly doubled their lead soon after through a Mirabaje shot that was deflected over the crossbar. The Dynamos, however, did extend their lead in the 54th minute courtesy of Chhangte, who capitalized on a defensive lapse by Pune before bursting through on goal and dinking the ball over the outrushing goalkeeper to make it 2-0.

Mirabaje then had another opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet after a delightful cross from the right found him unmarked in the box. The Uruguayan midfielder kept his header on target, but his effort went straight into the keeper's grateful arms.

He did eventually score for the Lions in the 65th minute with an excellent left-footed strike from outside the box that’ll surely be contender for goal of the season. The Uruguayan collected the ball on the right side of the pitch before unleashing a thunderous shot into the top left corner to make it 3-0.

His countryman Alfaro pulled one back for the home side two minutes later after some excellent attacking play. The Pune striker received the ball in the penalty box before holding off three defenders and shooting on the turn from the edge of the box to reduce the deficit to 3-1.

Kalu Uche could have re-established Delhi’s three-goal lead in the 72nd minute when he found himself on the end of a dangerous cross from the left, which he couldn’t direct goal-wards with his head. His miss allowed Pune to stay in the game and reduce the margin of defeat to just one goal after Tebar scored in stoppage-time. The former Delhi midfielder slotted Marcelinho’s cross from the right into the net from close range but couldn’t prevent his side’s first loss of the season.

MATCH AWARDS

Club Award: Delhi Dynamos FC

Moment of the Match: Matias Mirabaje

Winning Pass of the Match: Lallianzuala Chhangte

Emerging Player: Sarthak Golui

Hero of the Match: Lallianzuala Chhangte

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