Delhi Dynamos began their home campaign in Hero Indian Super League 2015 in some style, beating the league-stage leaders Chennaiyin FC by a solitary goal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.
Delhi began the game by attacking the visiting side, knowing fully well that both teams were under great pressure because of having lost their opening match. Delhi’s tactics reaped rewards inside the first eight minutes when Gustavo dos Santos dribbled past the defenders from the left flank and laid up a pass for Hans Mulder to take a crack a shot at goal. The ball took a deflection off the arm of Italian midfielder Manuele Blasi, who was diving to save the day for his team. Chennaiyin were perhaps a tad unlucky to concede a spot-kick from action this early in the game, especially after Brazilian Chicao stepped up to slot the ball home coolly past a sprawling Edel Bete.
Chennaiyin were forced to respond with greater attacking flair, but there was far too much emphasis on their marquee player Elano, who was tightly marked by the Delhi defenders and midfielders all through the match. Late in the first half, a lucky break almost fell for the visitors when a Souvik Chakrabarti header was met with a heavy first touch by centre-back Anas Edathodika and Balwant Singh put pressure on the Kerala-born defender, thus creating an opening for Chennai’s Colombian-born forward Mendoza. Mendoza’s delightful shot was sailing goal wards and had given Sanjiban Ghosh no chance, but it bounced off the woodwork.
In the second half, Chennai coach Marco Materazzi tried all the tricks in the book – bringing on youthful winger Jayesh Rane and replacing Elano with Bruno Pellisari. But Delhi were stout in their defence, and veteran Norwegian John Arne Riise put in a match-winning performance as a centre-back, bringing Delhi much-needed three points. It was significant because Delhi’s next four games are all away, while Chennaiyin have to pick them up for a difficult away game at Goa on Sunday.