Coming into the ISL match against Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos coach Roberto Carlos had made sure everybody knew the pressure of getting three points remained squarely on the hosts. The Brazilian great had an unbeaten streak of five games behind him, had led the team to a win over the opponents in the reverse fixture and had also “watched a lot of Chennai’s videos”.
“We will counter them if they attack, and take positions if they defend. I know the Chennaiyin situation,” the Brazilian had proclaimed.
Yet a day later, Carlos and company didn’t know what hit them as Chennaiyin thrashed Delhi 4-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday.
“Today, we did not know how to play against Chennaiyin,” said Carlos, after Delhi conceded more than two goals for only the second time in ISL. “If you let players such as (Stiven) Mendoza and Raphael (Augusto) to play their game, this is what they will do. It was a must win game for Chennaiyin. We lost because we did not have the motivation to win.”
That the visitors weren’t playing for the three points was evident from the get go as Delhi seemed content with just repelling attacks. However, Chennaiyin got on the sheet in the 17th minute thanks to that familiar hero -- Mendoza. The Colombian scored his tenth goal of the season after capitalising on a botched clearance from goalkeeper Antonio Doblas.
Doblas, who had conceded only seven times in eight matches before Tuesday, was again responsible for the second goal four minutes later. After an impressive point-blank save from Jeje Lalpekhlua’s strike, the Spaniard – along with the rest of Delhi’s defence – was caught ball-watching as Bruno Pelissari beat four defenders on the line to score on the rebound.
Two quick goals left Delhi right where Chennaiyin wanted; pushing ahead with a high defensive line. The hosts took advantage with well-executed counter-attacks on either side of the break which ended with Mendoza creating goals for Lalpekhlua. After scoring a goal and creating two, Mendoza was given an early night by coach Marco Materazzi, who brought on Elano in the 57th minute to see off the remainder of the game. While Delhi remain third despite the loss, Chennaiyin jumped to fourth due to a superior goal difference over NorthEast United.