Delhi Dynamos FC beat Chennaiyin FC 1-0 to kick-start their season
A Chicao penalty inside the opening 10 minutes was enough to hand Delhi Dynamos FC their first win of Hero Indian Super League Season 2 against Chennaiyin FC in front of a 19,453-strong crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Thursday.
Chicao’s calmly converted spot-kick made the difference in an otherwise even and thoroughly enjoyable tie.
It took eight minutes for the home side to get going after brilliant work from Gustavo dos Santos on the left created a great chance for skipper Hans Mulder just inside the Chennai penalty box. Mulder’s shot hit the arm of a Chennai defender, earning the Lions a penalty which Chicao converted calmly into the bottom left corner to put the hosts up 1-0.
The goal gave the Delhi players a confidence boost as the Lions opened their account this season. Dos Santos could have made it 2-0 in the 21st minute with a near-post shot that almost caught out the Chennai keeper. The Brazilian was looking lively on the left side of Delhi’s attack.
Chennai’s first meaningful chance of the match came in the 26th minute. A free-kick into the Delhi box fell perfectly for Stiven Mendoza. The Colombian’s shot was blocked bravely by centre back John Arne Riise to maintain his side’s slender one-goal advantage.
Delhi could have got their second at the half-hour mark courtesy of Ghanaian Richard Gadze. The striker made a powerful, lung-bursting run from deep inside his own half only to be denied by the Chennaiyin FC woodwork.
The visitors responded by upping their game. Chennai started seeing more of the ball and could have drawn level in the 34th minute. However, it was the woodwork that came in their way as Mendoza rattled the post giving everyone a clear indicator of Chennai’s growing influence on the game.
Elano was next in line to have a go at the Delhi goal. An effort from him on his weaker left was closed down well by Delhi’s defence earning Chennaiyin a corner. The last attack of the half also fell to the visitors as Delhi scrambled to clear their lines from a free-kick into the box. Chennai finished the half stronger but went in at break trailing 1-0.
The best opportunity during the opening exchanges of the second half came to goal-scorer Chicao. His tame shot, however, failed to cause the Chennai keeper any headaches.
Balwant Singh could have made Delhi pay for failing to convert their chance soon after. A well-measured cross from the right came Balwant Singh’s way. Last season’s first Indian scorer though failed to guide his near-post header goal-wards.
Chicao had another shot on goal in the 68th minute. His powerful drive was just off the mark allowing Alessandro Potenza to take a sigh of relief since it was his lapse pass at the back which made the opportunity for Chicao.
The Dynamos dropped deeper into their own half as the game neared its end. Roberto Carlos’ men were looking to hold on to their lead and see out the remainder of the match. The home side were living dangerously as they defended waves of Chennaiyin FC attacks.
The Super Machans’ best chance of an equalizer came in the last minute of normal time. It fell to substitute Bruno Pelissari whose volley from the edge of the box was cleared by Delhi defenders. The hosts would go on to control the remainder of the match as they ran down the clock to hand coach Carlos his first win in the Hero ISL, leaving Chennai at bottom of the table still searching for their first points of the season.
Club Award – Delhi Dynamos FC
Swift Moment of the Match – Richard Gadze (Delhi Dynamos FC) (Watch here)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match – Stiven Mendoza (Chennaiyin FC) (Watch here)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Abhishek Das (Chennaiyin FC)
Hero of the Match – John Arne Riise (Delhi Dynamos FC)