Goals from Robin Singh and Richard Gadze were enough for Delhi Dynamos FC to hand FC Pune City their first loss of the second season of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex on Wednesday. Kalu Uche’s goal reduced the scoreline to 2-1. The win took Delhi to third place in the table.
It was a cagey opening to the game with both sides attacking cautiously, keen not to follow behind early. Delhi Dynamos FC registered the first shot of the game when Robin Singh, who was making his Hero ISL debut, failed to hit the target from just outside Pune’s penalty box.
Pune’s first shot on goal came in the 11th minute from another Hero ISL debutant in Jackichand Singh. The pint-sized winger managed to hit a first-time volley after a searching ball from the back found him unmarked. Delhi’s goalkeeper was positioned perfectly to make a comfortable save.
Both keepers had a relatively comfortable opening twenty minutes with Pune and Delhi finding it difficult to carve open the opposition defences. The opening goal would come in the 24th minute from a set-piece after Florent Malouda put in an in-swinging corner that was met by the head of an unmarked Robin Singh to put the visitors 1-0 up.
FC Pune City upped the tempo in search of an equalizer. The Delhi boys stood firm against Pune’s new-found attacking impetus as the Stallions found it difficult to break down a well-drilled Dynamos defence.
The home side’s brightest spark of the first half was Jackichand Singh who drew Delhi’s keeper into action with 40 minutes on the clock. Goalkeeper Antonio Santana was equal to the task once again as he tipped Jackichand’s left-footed effort over the bar for a corner.
Pune enjoyed their best spell of the half during its last five minutes with Santana being called into action yet again in the 44th minute. James Bailey’s long range shot, however, was hit straight at Santana allowing him to make another routine save.
Pune should have been level going in at half-time but for centre back Diego Colotto’s missed opportunity. The Argentine found himself one-on-one with Santana after a free-kick found its way to him in the box. Colotto though failed to get his shot away as Santana dived at his feet to clear the danger and help the Lions protect their one-goal advantage going in at half-time.
David Platt introduced Tuncay Sanli at the beginning of the second period. The substitution almost had an immediate impact on the game but Santana parried away Sanli’s left-foot shoot to maintain his side’s lead.
Pune were looking increasingly threatening as they pushed forward in search of the leveller. Uche could have made it 1-1 in the 59th minute but his towering header from a Pune free-kick was directed straight at Santana, making for an easy save for the Englishman.
Delhi Dynamos FC almost made Pune pay for their wastefulness in front of goal in the 68th minute. John Arne Riise took a trademark free-kick from just outside the box which Steve Simonsen managed to keep out.
The game got increasingly stretched as it entered the last ten minutes with Pune desperate to get their equalizer. Sanli had his second opportunity of the match in the 84th minute courtesy of a low cross from the left by Lenny Rodrigues. The man from Turkey, however, failed to capitalize on the opportunity and saw his toe-poke safely dealt with by Delhi’s defence.
Delhi put the game to bed in the last of six minutes of additional time. A combination of substitutes Vinicius and Gadze combined sensationally for the Ghanaian to get his second goal of the season.
Pune got one back immediately from the restart when Pune substitute Eugeneson Lyngdoh ran past his man on the left and dinked a perfectly weighed cross for Uche to make it 2-1. This would be the last action of the game as Delhi made it back-to-back wins to go level on points with FC Pune City.