Daniel brace helps Delhi pip Bengaluru in five-goal thriller

Delhi Dynamos FC secured a thrilling 3-2 win over table toppers Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday. It was a topsy-turvy affair with the advantage shifting constantly between the teams, but eventually it was the Lions who triumphed.

For Bengaluru, it was their second loss on a trot. Delhi, on the other hand, continued their purple patch and extended their unbeaten run to five.

  • Ulises Davila scored his first Hero ISL goal on the 9th minute to hand Delhi the lead.
  • Ten minutes later, Boithang Haokip equalised for Bengaluru.
  • Sunil Chhetri came off the bench to make it 2-1 in Bengaluru’s favour on the 72nd minute.
  • Delhi struck back with a brace from their own substitute Daniel Lalhlimpuia on the 77th and 81st minute respectively.

With qualification sealed, Bengaluru head coach Carles Cuadrat decided to rest Sunil Chhetri and the Indian talisman started from the bench. In Chhetri's absence, midfielder Dimas Delgado took over the captain's armband for the night.

Bengaluru raced off the blocks from the kick off as Udanta Singh bombed down the right and found himself in the box. The winger cut the ball back for Miku but the Venezuelan's touch wasn't accurate enough to trouble Francisco Dorronsoro in the Delhi goal.

Bengaluru did look the better of the two sides in the early exchanges, but it was Delhi who drew first blood. Nandhakumar Sekar fizzed in a low cross from the right and with Lallianzuala Chhangte lurking close by, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu tried to parry it away from the danger zone. The Bengaluru custodian failed to get enough power behind his punch and the ball fell to Ulises Davila near the six-yard box. The Mexican put away the opportunity with ease to score his first goal in the Hero ISL.

The away team, however, didn't trail for long. On the 19th minute, Dorronsoro failed to properly deal with Xisco Hernandez's cross and his punch fell straight to Boithang Haokip inside the box, who buried his first-time volley in the net. Interestingly, both goals were very similar in nature - the goalkeeper failing to deal with a cross from the right and the opposition capitalising from the follow-up.

Another fumble by Dorronsoro could have cost the Lions a second goal, but fortunately for the home team, Marti Crespi was at hand to clean up.

Both sides traded chances for the rest of the first-half and despite some relatively close calls, the score remained 1-1 as the two teams headed into the break.

After the restart, the home team seemed to be on the ascendancy with their wingers exerting their influence on the match. Nandhakumar and Chhangte's speed down the flanks constantly pushed the Bengaluru defence on the backfoot. Looking to turn the tide, Cuadrat brought on Chhetri in place of goal scorer Haokip.

Despite the change, the Lions continued producing the more dangerous chances and had a golden opportunity to get their noses in front on the 64th minute. Davila sent Chhangte through on goal with a defence-splitting pass but the youngster rushed his effort and skied his shot.

Nandhakumar, too, got onto the act and forced a brilliant save from Gurpreet after going on a magnificent solo run. Delhi were knocking at the door but the end-product was missing.

The failure to convert their chances would come back to haunt Delhi. On the 72nd minute, Chhetri timed his run to perfection to beat Delhi’s offside trap and beat an onrushing Dorronsoro to make it 2-1. Rana Gharami might have gotten the last touch to the ball, but the goal was ruled in Chhetri’s favour.

The Blues’ advantage, however, lasted just five minutes. Narayan Das found substitute Daniel Lalhlimpuia inside the Bengaluru box with a lovely cross and the young striker did well to chest the ball down and get his shot off. The effort was straight at Gurpreet, but the Bengaluru no. 1’s attempted block was too weak and the ball deflected off his hand into the goal. Daniel, who played for Bengaluru last season, then went on to score his second of the night just four minutes later. His low deflected shot should have been dealt with by Gurpreet at the near post, but the Bengaluru custodian was indecisive with his block yet again. With 10 minutes left for the match, the score read 3-2 in the home team’s favour.

Daniel could have sealed his hat-trick late in the match, but this time Gurpreet’s save was enough to deny him. The encounter eventually ended 3-2 in Delhi’s favour.

HERO OF THE MATCH – Daniel Lalhlimpuia 

Coming off the bench in the second-half, Daniel Lalhlimpuia turned out to be the proverbial game changer tonight against his former team, Bengaluru. The impact sub was undoubtedly the Hero of the Match.

CLUB AWARDS 

Club Award – Delhi Dynamos FC

Swift Limitless Player of the Match – Lallianzuala Chhangte

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Narayan Das 

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Nandhakumar Sekar 

Hero of the Match – Daniel Lalhlimpuia 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Delhi will be on the road to play against FC Pune City on February 24, while Bengaluru’s next outing will be an away tie against Jamshedpur on February 27.

Watch the match highlights here

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