Bengaluru FC 1-0 Delhi Dynamos
KICK-OFF: Nov 26, 7.30PM (IST) (GMT +5.30)
Channel: Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3.
Streaming: Hotstar, Jio TV.
Highlights: Click Here
Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium.
An unbeaten Bengaluru FC will go head-to-head against a winless Delhi Dynamos in what will be Sunil Chhetri’s 150th appearance for the Blues. Bengaluru are in scintillating form with four away wins on the trot. In their previous game, they won against league leaders FC Goa in a hard-fought bruising encounter at the Fatorda.
Bengaluru FC haven’t played at home since the draw against Jamshedpur on Oct. 7. They will go into this game with confidence, but also with a wee bit of trepidation as they will be missing key players in today’s encounter. The goal machine Miku and the midfield lynchpin Erik Paartalu won’t be in action. Although they played the Goa match without Miku and Erik, they will be without the Spaniard Dimas Delgado as well who picked up a red card in the game.
Bengaluru FC’s defence looks solid as ever with the Spanish centre-back duo of Serran and Juanan and with the Indian fullbacks Rahul Bheke and Nishu Kumar who are in great form. Gurpreet Singh has been solid as ever in goal and they have the meanest defence in the league having conceded only five goals in six matches. In attack, in the absence of Miku, the Bhutanese international Chencho Gyeltshen is expected to start with Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh on the flanks. A depleted midfield which will only have Xisco Hernandez as the passing option and Khabra as the defensive mid is the weakness they have going into this game.
But Bengaluru have shown over the years that they are a resolute lot. A chance to go on top of the table will be all the motivation they need to get past Delhi Dynamos.
Delhi Dynamos will be desperate for a win in today’s game lest they forget what a win feels like. It’s been nearly a couple of months since the league started and they’ve managed four draws and four losses in the eight games they’ve played so far. Delhi have one of the strongest Indian contingent of players in the league, but that hasn’t translated to success on the pitch. To make matters worse, the Serbian forward Andrija Kaluđerović (Ex Red Star Belgrade, Racing Santander) signed this season has had a poor return of one goal in eight outings.
Delhi will have to figure out today where the goals are going to come from. Chhangte has been decent with a return of two goals, but young Indian talent like Nanda Kumar, Vinit Rai, Shubham Sarangi and Daniel Lalhlimpuia have done precious little going forward.
To go past the Bengaluru FC defence will be a big ask for Delhi Dynamos. They have however put in strong performances against league leaders FC Goa in their previous match which they lost 2-3. In the game prior to that, they managed a draw against Jamshedpur. A draw will be a decent result for them this game, but a win will restore some pride to this pride of lions.
FULL-TIME: Bengaluru FC 1-0 Delhi Dynamos
88′ – yellow card (Marti Crespi, Delhi Dynamos)
87′ – GOAL! 1-0 (Udanta Singh, Bengaluru)
85′ – sub (Delhi Dynamos: Vinit Rai [IN] A. Kaludjerovic [OUT])
79′ – sub (Bengaluru: Gursimrat Singh [IN] Alberto Serran [OUT])
74′ – sub (Delhi Dynamos: Romeo Fernandes [IN] L. Chhangte [OUT])
60′ – sub (Delhi Dynamos: Rene Mihelic [IN] Adria Carmona [OUT])
55′ – sub (Bengaluru: S. Haokip [IN] C. Gyeltshen [OUT])
49′ – sub (Erik Paartalu [IN] Rino Anto [OUT])
44′ – yellow card (H. Khabra, Bengaluru)
26′ – yellow card (Adria Carmona, Delhi Dynamos)
Bengaluru FC huffed and puffed their way over the finish line to go top of the table in a game they could’ve easily lost to a dominant Delhi side.
A combination of poor finishing by Delhi Dynamos and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s excellent goalkeeping skills kept Bengaluru FC in the game until an 87th minute strike by Udanta Singh settled the tie in Bengaluru’s favour.
In the first half, Delhi exploited Bengaluru’s weakened midfield which had Xisco and Khabra playing alongside Nishu Kumar who was drafted into a midfield role. Rahul Bheke played as the left fullback and Rino Anto took up the fullback duties on the right.
Playing specialist players out of position is never a good idea. And that was made obvious with Delhi feeding the ball into Chhangte and Nanda Kumar who found themselves in space frequently and made life miserable for the Bengaluru fullbacks.
Going into the second half, Carles Cuadrat introduced Erik Paartalu who was recovering from an injury and was expected to sit out this game, but ended up making it to the substitute’s bench. The introduction of Paartalu, and with Nishu Kumar and Rahul Bheke restored to their natural fullback positions finally saw Bengaluru gain a foothold in the game. Although Delhi did have a few more attempts at goal in the second half, it was Bengaluru who broke the deadlock late in the second half when Delhi failed to clear their lines.
Bengaluru remain unbeaten and with a game in hand over the second-placed FC Goa, they will look to extend their lead when they take on FC Pune City on Nov. 30.
As far as Delhi Dynamos are concerned, all their dominance was not enough to pick up their first three points against the league leaders.
Looking at the Expected Goals metric for tonight’s game, A. Kaluderovic and Nanda Kumar had a fistful of chances from good positions as evidenced by their high xG score. Chhangte and Carmona also had a couple of decent goal-scoring opportunities which they failed to convert. The overall xG for the Delhi team clearly demonstrates that they could’ve easily won the game. To add to their misery, Udanta Singh managed to score from a relatively difficult position outside the box especially when the chance is compared to the gilt-edged chances Delhi had.
To sum up, Delhi’s lack of a genuine goalscorer upfront is what cost them today’s game and is the reason why they are bottom of the table. They do have positives to draw from this match before their next encounter against Mumbai City on Dec. 3.