Ten-man Delhi Dynamos FC beat defending champions Atlético de Kolkata 1-0 courtesy of a goal from super-sub Gustavo dos Santos at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata in front 41,145 spectators after local boy Souvik Chakraborty had been sent off for the Lions with ten minutes to spare in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League on Thursday evening.
The visitors had the best of the opening exchanges with Chicao, Hans Mulder and Florent Malouda dominating the midfield. Kolkata’s Ofenste Nato’s effort on goal in the 11th minute was the first of the match as both teams were still feeling each other out in a rather cagey opening to the game.
Iain Hume headed at goal five minutes later as head coach Antonio Lopez Habas looked to galvanise his men on the pitch from the side-lines after two successive losses. Malouda had Delhi Dynamos FC’s first chance of any substance around the 21-minute mark, but the former French international failed to keep his header on target.
The best opportunity of the match for Delhi came two minutes later when Richard Gadze wrestled his way into ATK’s penalty area. Gadze too failed to keep his attempt on target, much to the delight of the local crowd.
Atlético de Kolkata had their best opportunity of the half eight minutes from the break. A left-footed free-kick found Baljit Sahni perfectly near Delhi’s six-yard area but the robust midfielder shot wide in keeping with the theme of the first period as both sides went into the tunnel at the break without breaking the deadlock.
The second half got off to a more enterprising start with both sides pressing on in search of the game’s opening goal. Gadze almost found the back of the net at the hour mark, but the Ghanaian once again shot wide of the target.
The game got a new lease of life four minutes later when Delhi’s marquee player-cum-coach Robert Carlos came on to replace John Arne Riise and received a rapturous ovation upon his introduction from everyone at the stadium.
The tension was palpable as the game neared its end with both teams looking to settle for a draw. However, with 10 minutes left on the clock, Souvik Chakraborty put Delhi in a real pickle when he was given his marching orders by the referee for a challenge.
Habas decided to seize the opportunity and maximise his team’s man advantage by throwing on Sushil Kumar Singh in the hope of finding a winner. It would be Delhi Dynamos FC though, who got that winner during the last minute of added time.
Malouda did brilliantly to bamboozle Kolkata’s defenders inside the box before squaring perfectly for substitute dos Santos to calmly slot into the net. It was dos Santos’ first goal in Season 2 of the Hero ISL and helped Delhi climb to second spot in the table behind FC Pune City on goal difference.
Club Award: Delhi Dynamos FC
Swift Moment of the Match: Toni Doblas (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Iain Hume (ATK)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Rino Anto (ATK)
Hero of the Match: Anas Edathodika (Delhi Dynamos FC)