Delhi Dynamos started their new year with a win, defeating Kerala Blasters 2-0 in front of the home fans. A fairly one sided affair saw Gianni Zuiverloon scoring a fantastic goal while Rene Mihelic netted one from the spot to seal it for the home team.
It was an aggressive start by the Delhi Dynamos with the first shot on target coming in the third minute of the game. Ulises Davila made his Indian Super League debut as Gombau fielded a 3-4-3 formation against an unchanged Kerala Blasters, who took on ATK last.
The hosts had a plethora of chances throughout the first half. Both wingers of the team Chhangte and Nandha Kumar kept the Kerala Blasters defence at bay with their runs, twits and turns. Chhangte created a good ball in the 23rd minute, but debutant Ulises failed to connect the cross. Four minutes later, Rene Mihelic produced a good ball from the right, but his attempt was blocked by the Kerala Blasters defence at a crucial juncture.
The breakthrough for the home team however came soon, with Mihelic’s brilliant corner, converted aptly by defensive wall Gianni Zuiverloon in the 29th minute. The team had a golden chance to double their lead just a minute later, but Rene mistimed his run and overshot the ball. The half ended 1-0 in favour of the hosts.
Kerala Blasters started the second half on a stronger note with Lakic Pesic hitting the crossbar off a freekick early in the half. Delhi wingers again kept Kerala Blasters busy with Chhangte setting the left wing on fire.
The home team got a ferocious chance in the 67th minute when Rene took a freekick from the corner of the box. The ball curled in towards Kerala Blasters custodian Dheeraj Singh, but missed target by a whisker.
One of the standout performers of the day was young Shubham Sarangi, who was absolutely all over the Kerala Blasters midfield with his game. Delhi Dynamos had another chance in the 81st minute, when Chhangte was left unmarked and he delivered a dangerous ball in, but Ulises’ header flew over the bar.
As for the Kerala Blasters attack, it was relatively a free day for Dorronsoro, with the away team forwards misfiring most of their shots into the skyline. With three defenders at the back and captain Marcos Tebar playing the holding position, there wasn’t much that the visitors could afford to do.
In the dying moments of the game, a fabulous counter attack fell in place for Delhi Dynamos with Chhangte getting a one on one with Dheeraj Singh. But the left winger was brought down by Lalruatthara from behind, earning him a sent off and a penalty for Delhi Dynamos. Rene Mihelic netted the ball from the spot, sending the keeper in the wrong direction and sealing the deal for Delhi Dynamos.
Thus, Delhi Dynamos started their new year with a win, keeping up the momentum which they picked up towards the end of the first leg of the season.