Image Courtesy: Indian Super League Media Team
In a rather un-enterprising match, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Kochi, it was Delhi Dynamos, who came off 1-0 victors, after a late goal from Ghanaian striker Richard Gadze.
Although the Kerala Blasters were playing in front of around 60,000 of their won fans, it was the Delhi Dynamos, who took the initiative, and kept launching attack after attack.
However, Kerala played five men in defence, and set out to frustrate Roberto Carlosa men. Man of the Match Sandesh Jhingan was the man, who was standing between Delhi and the goal, most of the times. Midfielder Hans Mulder was the one, who shone for Delhi in the match, linking up with Gustavo Dos Santos, Florent Malouda, and Robin Singh, with long through balls.
Kerala, on the other hand, did have their moments, when they kept possession in patches, but their back-line was pushing too far forward, at these moments, and were constantly being exposed by long balls, to the strikers. Delhi however, failed to capitalise on these chances. Delhi increased the intensity of their attacks, in the second half, as the went ahead, looking for the winner, which after a point, seemed that it would be elusive.
On the 74th minute mark, Carlos took off Dos Santos, and brought on 21-year-old Gadze, who had scored a late goal in their previous match against Pune. The Ghanaian did not disappoint, as he headed a perfect Malouda cross, into the bottom corner of the net, on the 87th minute, to send the Delhi fans into frenzy.
The match was not over yet however, as Kerala immediately went forward, looking for the equaliser. They nearly found it too, as CK Vineeth sent-in a fierce shot from inside the box. However, Delhi Dynamos custodian Toni Doblas, who practically had nothing to do all game, was up to his task, as he denied Vineeth the equalizer.
This victory takes Carlosa Delhi to the second spot, on the table, with the same number of points as toppers FC Pune City (nine). While Delhi are behind Pune on goal difference, they would be looking to build on the momentum that they have gathered, winning their last three matches on the trot.
Their next match is against Mumbai City FC, on Tuesday, which could turn out to be quite a headache for Carlos, as his men would have just one day of rest, before the game.
a Its (the win) very good for the confidence. I think the spirit is good (in the team). We had some luck in the end, but we did well to win it tonight,a said Malouda to Star Sports, in the post-match presentation. a Ita s a very good sign, because hea s (Gadze) coming off the bench, and I hope there’s many more (goals for Gadze) to come.a
Meanwhile, Kerala have been missing a quality striker in front of goal, and coach Peter Taylor reiterated this point, in the post match presentation. He said, a In the final third, we haven’t had much quality. Yes, I think there have been some good performances, but we haven’t had much in the final third. Hopefully (Mohammed) Rafi will be back in the next game.a
Kerala have only managed one point from their last three matches, and this is something that Taylor would obviously be looking to look into. He has two rest day, to put his team together, before they travel to FC Goa, on Thursday.