Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos share the spoils in Kochi

Kerala Blasters FC were held to a 0-0 draw by Delhi Dynamos FC in front of almost 55,000 spectators at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday. Michael Chopra had the best chance of the first period, while Marcelinho could have netted the winner for Delhi in the second had it not been for some astute defending.

The home side dominated the ball in the opening minutes without managing to create any clear-cut chances on goal. Chopra had the Blasters’ first effort on goal in the 12th minute but failed to hit the target.

The Dynamos could have taken the lead against the run of the play in the 21st minute after a Florent Malouda free-kick found Badara Badji in the box. The Senegalese forward tried to guide Malouda’s free-kick goal-wards but couldn’t find a proper connection as the ball trickled over the line for a goal-kick.

The best chance of the first period fell to Chopra in the last minute of the half after Josu found the former Newcastle United star with a delightful ball from deep. Chopra controlled expertly and hit the target but goalkeeper Toni Doblas made a good save low to his right as the sides went in 0-0 at the break.

 Delhi suffered a blow early in the second half after a nasty clash resulted in Doblas’ withdrawal from the match. The break in play had an effect on the rhythm of the game with both sides taking time to get up to speed following the lengthy stoppage in play.

The visitors had two quick chances in the 83rd minute that nearly got them the breakthrough. A Malouda free-kick was met with an intelligent header that was directed towards goal. Sandesh Jhingan, however, stood firm to thwart the danger. Marcelinho then found space in behind Kerala’s backline soon after but the Brazilian winger’s attempt on goal was blocked by an army of yellow on the edge of the six-yard box.

Both sides played cautiously during the closing stages of the game with neither willing to risk conceding a late goal. The referee added on six minutes of injury time and that gave the home supporters some hope of a late winner. Resolute defending by the Delhi defence, however, saw out some late Kerala pressure as Hero ISL 2016 witnessed its first goalless match of the season.

Match awards:

Club Award: Shared by both teams

Amul Fittest Player of the Match – Badara Badji

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Josu Currais

Maruti Suzuki Swift Moment of the Match – Toni Doblas

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Mohammed Rafique

Hero of the Match – Sandesh Jhingan

– ISL Media

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