Delhi Dynamos FC hold Chennaiyin FC in Indian Super League
Delhi Dynamos FC’s Kalu Uche converted a penalty in the second half but Chennaiyin FC equalised late in the game through Mailson Alves as the teams shared points in their Indian Super League (ISL) game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.football Updated: Feb 12, 2018 10:28 IST
With an Indian Super League (ISL) playoff spot all but out of their reach, Delhi Dynamos FC had nothing to lose going into their game against Chennaiyin FC on Sunday.
And despite missing a few key players due to injury, the home side put in one of their more solid performances of the season.
But poor defending from a corner – a problem area for Dynamos all season – proved their undoing yet again as Chennaiyin’s Mailson Alves rose highest to head home the equaliser in the 81st minute to deny Delhi what should have been only their third win of the season.
Earlier in the second half, Dynamos skipper Kalu Uche had converted a penalty won by midfielder Matias Mirabje on the hour mark to put the hosts in front.
But the decision to award a spot kick did not go down well with Chennaiyin coach John Gregory. “I think the penalty decision was harsh; officials tend to give penalties away very quickly. You have to be 100% correct when giving them away,” he said after the game.
However, a lack of defensive solidity when it most mattered meant Delhi had to share the spoils.
“We always play with this handicap of conceding from a set-piece. We practice defending set-pieces all day but in the game we still concede from them,” said a visibly frustrated Portugal in the post-match press conference.
Change in tactics
Delhi’s possession-based play has drawn praise from many coaches, even if a lack of goals has hurt the side. Still, it was refreshing to see coach Miguel Angel Portugal favour being solid at the back than look to keep the ball aimlessly.
It was a strategy that isn’t easy on the eye, but Delhi’s current situation means they need wins more than attractive football.
And because Delhi’s focus was more on keeping the opposition at bay, Chennaiyin attackers didn’t have much space to work in.
Chennaiyin star striker Jeje Lalpekhlua had a quiet night and Dutch winger Gregory Nelson missed a glorious one-on-one in the first half, ensuring the teams went into the break with the scores level.
However, when Mirabaje was brought down inside the box by Chennaiyin midfielder Raphael Augusto, the referee pointed to the spot. Uche’s calm conversion of the spot kick made it seem like Portugal’s decision to alter his tactics would bear immediate dividends.
However, stand-in Chennaiyin skipper Alves ensured his side went back home with something to show for their efforts on the night.