The last lights from Delhi Dynamos’ excruciating season were finally dimmed as the capital outfit, courtesy of a draw, were mathematically knocked out of contention for a play-off spot.
One may argue that those lights stopped flickering long ago, as Delhi earned only their eighth point of the season from 13 games. The 1-1 draw with Chennaiyin represented a fourth point earned at home, from seven games played.
For the visitors, Mailson Alves cancelled out Kalu Uche’s penalty but this was a game where they simply did not create enough as Chennaiyin were out played and looked sluggish.
The talking points from the game:
Chhangte is Delhi’s outlet
- Delhi’s recruitment policy, despite their results, deserves a mention as four 20-year-olds started the game. On the night, Mohammad Dhot and Jayananda Moirangthem started in defence. Ahead of them, Vinit Rai took his place in midfield with Lallinzuala Chhangte taking his place on the left.
- With the likes of Shubham Sarangi waiting in the wings and Albino Gomes out through injury currently, this Delhi team could potentially improve next season. On the night though, it was an all-familiar tale: domination in patches but a lack of solidity and confidence hampering any little progress made.
- The Dynamos had the first chance of the game, as Dhot played a long ball down to Chhangte on the left. The Mizo winger shimmied past Keenan Almeida before crossing it into the path of Paulinho Dias who took a wonderful shot on the half-volley which fizzed past Karanjit Singh’s right-hand post.
- Chhangte flitted in and out of the game, yet looked like Dynamos’ most-influential player. He kept running into deep pockets of space behind Almeida on Chennaiyin’s right, yet Delhi’s overall forward play was sluggish even as they opted for the Mizo winger as an outlet.
Injuries and decision making hampers Dynamos’ defence
- Yet, it was a lack of co-ordination and confidence which let Delhi down. The shot for Dias was difficult as the ball went behind him but a Dynamos player should have ideally attacked the ball at the near post. That was a gamble worth taking, as Chhangte put in the best ball he could have from that position.
- Calamity, however, is never far away from the Dynamos. A cross from Gregory Nelson on the left was almost turned into his own goal by Munmun Lugun under pressure from Fernandes. Xabier Iruetaguena reacted fastest to prevent the ball from going over the line.
- Delhi’s Spanish keeper bailed them out on yet another difficult night for the defence. In the second half, Jerry Lalrinzuala’s driving run set up Jamie Gavilan for an easy finish. The ball went to his weaker right foot as Delhi’s Spanish keeper dived the wrong way but got a foot to it to keep the scores level.
- Iruetaguena had a good game barring the mistake for the goal. In the return leg too, Delhi had taken the lead only for Chennaiyin to salvage a 2-2 draw. Injuries to keeper Gomes and Iruetaguena have not helped the defence either, co-ordination a clear problem as all three of Delhi’s keepers lacking time to settle in behind the backline.
Jeje’s off-colour game
- This was another night when Jeje’s inconsistencies came to the fore. He had only 33 touches of the ball and failed to take any shots in his 96 minutes on the pitch. His overall play, on the night, left much to be desired.
- He was caught dawdling as Iruetaguena’s botched clearance fell to Gavilan only 15 seconds after the restart. His pass, for Jeje, meant that the Mizo forward was on his own up front. He took too long and scuffed his pass, the rebound falling kindly to Augusto to fire high and wide.
- Jeje has seven goals to his name this campaign but can be really wasteful when he’s not scoring goals. He failed to link up with the three men behind him as Dhot and Gabriel Cichero handled him with ease.
- Delhi’s attacking intent possibly did merit a goal and it did materialise. Matias Mirabje was brought down by Augusto in the box. It was a clear penalty as Uche stepped up to take it. He stuttered, and Karanjit barely offered a dive, as the ball fizzed into the bottom corner. Uche now had six goals for the season.
Two draws against Dynamos will hurt Chennaiyin
- Delhi have scored four goals more than the two teams immediately above them and only one lesser than Jamshedpur in third, having played two games fewer. The problems have come at the other end, conceding a league-high 30 goals and so it proved again as Chhangte’s comical hand-ball from a Rowilson Rodrigues’ clearance gave Chennai a free-kick 35 yards out.
- Rene Mihelic’s delivery was perfect as Iruetaguena came for the ball, but could not reach it. Mailson jumped highest and headed the ball home with the Spaniard off his line. It was poor all around from Delhi and definitely a goal which could have been avoided.
- This was a point which did not help Chennaiyin’s cause one bit. They now have two difficult away games against Goa and Kerala Blasters left, and also have to face third-placed Jamshedpur and a play-off spot chasing Mumbai at home.
- The result kept them four points ahead of Goa, who have a game in hand. Should the Marina Machans lose at Fatorda, this is a game that they will reflect upon. They have only managed two draws against Delhi; two points against the bottom-placed side will be a disappointment for John Gregory and his men.