Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 0-2 NorthEast United
NorthEast United condemned Delhi Dynamos to their second loss in succession, and it was a result that reflected the indifferent show the capital put up, on the pitch and definitely off it. Here are three things we learned.
Defense a major worry for Miguel Angel Portugal
Not surprisingly, Delhi Dynamos manager Miguel Angel Portugal criticised his side’s defensive organisation in the previous two matches and hoped his team would make amends in the first home game of the season.
In the last few seasons, the franchise has had the support of having experienced professionals like John Arne Riise, who have managed to organise the backline with precision. They were also coached by Roberto Carlos, a world-class defender himself. Did the home side miss the authority of their marquee players? There was nothing on display to prove otherwise.
The first goal from Marcinho saw the midfielder go inside the box with ease, completely unmarked. The second goal would perhaps go in the blooper reel at the end of the season, as goalkeeper Albino Gomes failed to kick the ball out cleanly. Danilo Lopes was there to capitalise on the goalkeeper’s mistake, hit the ball in the back of the net, and sealed NorthEast United’s first win of the season, in front of an encouraging John Abraham.
Delhi should have started Lallianzuala Chhangte against his former club
Chhangte barely featured for NorthEast United under Nelo Vingada, which was a major disappointment considering the abilities of the young attacker. When Delhi took the player ahead of the season, it was hailed as a smart move.
A man-of-the-match performance from 20-year-old against FC Pune City proved this further. The Delhi Dynamos forward first set up the opening goal for his Brazilian teammate Paulino and then netted the second to give Delhi a 3-2 win over FC Pune City at the Balewadi stadium.
Oddly though, coach Portugal didn’t start the youngster and introduced him only at half-time after a disastrous first-half. This made no sense unless the player was suffering from a knock. Immediately after his introduction, he added momentum for his side and began trying to get his side back in the game. Perhaps if he started, Delhi could have extracted a goal from the game.
Delhi fans show indifference
Delhi is not known to be a hotbed for football, but in what was still a major surprise, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium had a meagre crowd cheering the home team to victory. Usually, NorthEast United games get Delhi Dynamos the most fans in the stadium all season, in a tie that has always been labelled as a ‘home match’ for the visitors, because of a large number of northeastern people living in the capital. On Saturday, however, an official figure of 7,912 spectators made their way to the stadium.
India playing the third test match against Sri Lanka at Feroz Shah Kotla earlier in the day, and the North-East Tamchon Football Tournament’s final at the Ambedkar Stadium didn’t do any favours, but it was still an extremely low attendance figure, which has become a focal point of discussion for Indian Football fans. The next game is against new boys Jamshedpur FC on 6th December, and it will be interesting to see if the figures improve. The Delhi franchise could certainly do with some support from the stands.
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