Delhi pour cold water on Mumbai’s playoff hopes

Delhi Dynamos FC came up with an emphatic 5 – 1 win over Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Tuesday. There were six different scorers on the night as Nandhakumar Sekar, Matias Mirabaje, Manuel Arana, Kalu Uche and Lallianzuala Chhangte scored for the hosts, while Everton Santos scored the sole Islanders goal. The win extends Delhi’s current unbeaten run to five matches, while Mumbai lose out on a playoff spot.

The Lions started with a barrage of attacks and took the lead from a simple build-up play as early as in the sixth minute. Seityasen Singh gathered the ball on the right flank, had plenty of space to surge forward and put in a pin-point cross for Nandha. The 22-year-old made no mistake to tap it home through custodian Amrinder Singh’s legs.

The Islanders then tried to surge forward in search of the equaliser and got themselves a free-kick on the half-hour mark from just outside the box. Achille Emana stepped up to take it, but his effort deflected off the wall and just over the target for a corner.

Then three minutes before the break, Mumbai came agonizingly close to scoring. Sahil Tavora was put through on goal and from a tight angle, he squeezed his shot past Delhi keeper Xabier Iruetaguena. However, Pratik Chowdhary came to the rescue with a last-ditch lunge to block the effort off the line with his outstretched leg.

That proved to be the last bit of action from the opening period as the Lions went into the break with the 1 – 0 lead.

The Islanders equalised just four minutes following the restart. Balwant Singh received the ball on the left side, cut in and fired on goal. Iruetaguena got down to make the save, but the rebound fell straight to Everton, who pounced to slot it home.

Then seven minutes later, Balwant latched on to an overhead ball which he volleyed goalwards. However, Iruetaguena came up with a stunning save at full stretch to tip the ball over. Six minutes after the hour mark, Delhi came close when Nandha played a lovely ball to substitute Chhangte, but the latter’s first-time shot on the run was met with a good save by Amrinder. Just three minutes later, the visitors came even closer. Substitute Leo Costa came up with a thunderous strike from just outside the box, but the Lions’ substitute keeper Arnab Das Sharma deviated the ball onto the crossbar.

With a quarter of an hour to play, the home side were back in front. A clearance from a cross fell straight to Mirabaje who took his time to pick his spot and hit a belter with his left foot, right into the top corner. The Lions, however, put themselves in a spot of bother in the 77th minute, when Chowdhary picked up a second yellow and was given the marching order.

However, they got themselves a bonus, nine minutes from time. Tavora brought down Manuel Arana inside the box to not only give Delhi away a penalty but also get a second booking to see red and restore parity as far as the number of players from each team was concerned.

Arana himself stepped up for the penalty and struck it into the top corner, giving Amrinder no chance. The Lions put the game to bed with five minutes to play. Once more Arana was involved when he went on a marauding run down the right flank and put in an inch-perfect cross for substitute Kalu Uche to tap home.

Still, Delhi were not done. Mirabaje put in a lofted ball from midfield to put Chhangte through on goal and the youngster showed great composure to control the ball, round off Amrinder and score into an empty net. That was the icing on the cake for Delhi as the Islanders’ hopes of making the playoffs were dashed with the 5 – 1 rout.

MATCH AWARDS

Club Award: Delhi Dynamos FC

Swift Limitless Player: Lucian Goian

DHL Winning Pass of the Match: Seityasen Singh

Amul Fittest Player: Everton Santos

Emerging Player: Nandhakumar Sekar

Hero of the Match: Matias Mirabaje

Watch the match highlights here:

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