FULL-TIME: Delhi Dynamos FC 3-2 Bengaluru FC
Delhi Dynamos: 9′ U. Davila (Assist: Nanda Kumar); 77′ Daniel L. (Assist: Narayan Das); 81′ Daniel L.
Bengaluru FC: 19′ Boithang Haokip (Assist: Xisco Hernandez); 72′ Sunil Chhetri (Assist: Xisco Hernandez).
Table toppers Bengaluru FC slumped to their second consecutive defeat as a revitalised Delhi Dynamos side capitalised on goalkeeping errors to grab a win at the Den.
The game started with Delhi showing intent to win more visibly among the two sides. Delhi had Shubham Sarangi playing as the furthest man in attack with Davila just behind him as Chhangte and Nanda Kumar took up positions on the wings.
The first chance in the game fell to Bengaluru in the opening minute, but Miku shot wide from six yards out. It was Delhi who managed to take the lead in the 9th minute from a goal by Ulises Davila. Nanda Kumar sent a ball across the goal from the right flank forcing Gurpreet to paw it in the path of Davila who finished with a low left-footed shot.
The Blues equalised soon after in the 19th minute. Haokip who started in place of the rested Sunil Chhetri scored with a fantastic volley after the Delhi keeper Dorronsoro’s attempted push to clear the ball landed suitably in the box for the Manipuri midfielder.
Once the teams were level, the game went into halftime mostly event-free with neither team pushing the pedal or creating chances of note.
With Erik Paartalu out injured, Bengaluru FC missed a core component in midfield. Harmanjot Khabra couldn’t hold the same influence over the middle of the pitch as the Blues struggled with distribution and creativity in their attacking play.
Two substitutions influenced the game and helped break the deadlock. Daniel was brought on as a half-time change to be the focal point in attack for Delhi instead of Shubham Sarangi. Sunil Chhetri was brought on for Haokip in the 59th minute.
It was Sunil Chhetri who got on the scoresheet (although the last touch was by the Delhi defender Rana Gharami) first to put Bengaluru in the lead. A Xisco ball from midfield found Chhetri one and one with the keeper until Rana Gharami managed to poke it in while executing a last ditch challenge.
Delhi continued attacking in numbers and created good chances throughout the second half as Bengaluru increasingly started defending deep – at one point they were operating with a back five. This was especially more prevalent after taking the lead.
But BFC’s lead did not last all that long. The former Blues’ man Daniel Lalhlimpuia got Delhi back in the game after taking a shot from 12 yards out straight at the keeper. Gurpreet Singh somehow managed to parry the ball into the back of his own net.
With the scores now level, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu let in another howler – this time at his near post. It was Daniel who was the tormentor again after his shot from inside the box beat the Bengaluru keeper. Bengaluru tried to mount a comeback by pushing numbers upfield, but Delhi held on to pick up a deserved win.
Daniel was the top shooter (xG) tonight and got himself in good positions to score. He was able to provide an outcome for Delhi’s creativity tonight which was a usual talking point through Delhi’s season.
The win leaves Delhi undefeated in five games and they’ve turned the tide around a bit towards the fag end of the season. They see themselves move up to eighth position as they chase automatic qualification for the Super Cup.