For a game rendered memorable by some fine goalkeeping on both sides, it was a shame that one of them had to ultimately take the fall for the error of his mate. In fact, the outings of both Antonio Doblas and Debjit Majumder could have been soured by penalties conceded by their defenders. But Majumder was probably destined to have a better day than Doblas.
It was evident right from the moment Prabir Das cleared a ball from the goalline. Be it a flurry of strikes within the box or a free-kick in the second half that almost tested Majumder’s ability to reach for the horizontal, his assuring presence was the biggest reason Atletico de Kolkata managed to live through the last 20 minutes of the match despite being a man down.
That Iain Hume turned up to score for ATK wasn’t a surprise. That he had to wait for a penalty to do it was surprising in a game where ATK got their fair share of chances. In as early as the fifth minute, Hume’s through dissected the Delhi Dynamos defence to reach Sameehg Doutie. An alert Doblas left his charge in time to clear that threat.
Five minutes later, Hume was again in the thick of things when Doutie’s header found him on the edge of the box but stubborn marking prevented the Canadian from stabbing the ball in.
The predictability of ATK’s attacks --- most of the moves being orchestrated by Hume --- made Delhi’s job of countering them bit easier. Delhi, in comparison, were more compact in their game and looked stronger in the front third in the first-half. The visitors could have gone one up when Marcelo Pereira’s shot from the left, off Florent Malouda’s through, was cleared from the goalline by Das.
When Majumder saved three shots on the goal within as many seconds, Delhi knew they probably missed out on the best time to kill the game. Richard Gadze weaved in from the right to pass it on to Marcelo Pereira who set up Malouda for a low drive. His effort thwarted, Gadze went for the rebound, followed by Marcos Tebar and finally Rupert Nongrum.
Despite Juan Belencoso failing to nod in Doutie’s cross from the right, the South African continued to be a livewire for ATK. Along with Hume, he kept pressing for a goal in the second half but Delhi got the penalty almost against the run of play. Dazed by Gadze’s half-turn on a through he received on the edge of the box, Henrique Sereno almost instinctively fouled him. Pereira however shot the ball above the horizontal, minutes before Hume converted his penalty to become the highest scorer in the history of ISL, and ATK stayed unbeaten this season.