Delhi FC & Tribhuvan Army FC share Durand Cup spoils!

Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC and I-League side Delhi FC played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in a Group E fixture of the 132nd Durand Cup played at the SAI Stadium.

Dinesh Henjan scored for the Tribhuvan Army FC while Girish Khosla scored the equalizer late for Delhi FC. This is Delhi FC’s second straight draw in the tournament as they take the top spot in Group E.

Delhi FC started the first half on the front foot but it was the team from Nepal that created the first chance of the game. A fine team move on the right side saw Sudil Rai getting free but his shot was saved well on the near post by Delhi goalkeeper Pawan Kumar. Delhi were more organized on the field while the side from Nepal were relying on long passes to the forwards. Himanshu Jangra’s free kick was brilliantly saved on to the post by Nepal keeper Bikesh Kuthu.

Both sides lacked the creativity in the final stretch which led to the lack of clear cut opportunities. Tribhuvan Army took the lead in the 39th minute through a mistake by Delhi FC goalkeeper Pawan Kumar. He spilled a cross from Nepal captain Nawayug Shrestha which fell for Kamal Bahadur Thapa. He provided the assist for Dinesh Henjan who had to just divert the ball inside the goal. Delhi responded well after conceding and had some coordinated attacks, but the Tribhuvan defence held on and thwarted the dangers to maintain their lead at halftime.

Delhi FC gaffer Surinder Singh brought in Fahad Temuri and Girik Khosla to shore up the attack. They started the second half with the intent of finding the equalizer but it was Tribhuvan who had the first shot on target in the half. They forced a double save out of Pawan Kumar to keep the score line intact. Delhi continued to pile the pressure on the Tribhuvan side but the Nepal side were organized in defence and did not give forwards Bali Gagandeep and Himanshu Jangra any space inside the box. This forced the side from Delhi to make attampts from outside the box which did not yield much results. Girik Khosla had a chance to equalize before the hour mark but he fluffed his shot from a cross from Fahad Temuri.

Tribhuvan Army were content to play on the counter attack as they kept frustrating the Delhi FC attack by some last ditch defending. Bikesh Kuthu was also in fine form under the bar making some fine saves. Delhi FC finally broke the resilient Army side in the 88th minute. Fahad Temuri fired in a low cross from the left which was met well by substitute Kuntal Pakira. His shot beat the keeper but hit the crossbar and the rebound was bundled in by Girish Khosla. Delhi FC pushed for a late winner but in the end both teams shared a point each.

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