XtraTime Web Desk: A late equaliser by Andrija Kaludjerovic earned Delhi Dynamos a much-deserved point against the Kerala Blasters, as the first away fixture of the team ended in a 1-1 draw.
Delhi Dynamos head coach Josep Gombau had a few options to explore as he fielded a starting XI with a couple of changes. Gianni Zuiverloon made a comeback from his injury while the gaffer handed Romeo Fernandes his first start of the season. Striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Bikramjit Singh also made it to the bench, after being ruled out of injury in the last encounter against ATK.
Delhi started with a determined mode, winning the first corner of the match in the 4th minute. Dynamos dominated the proceeding from the word go and with a greater possession, creating a plethora of chances.
Mizo player Lallianzuala Chhangte was at the heat of the action most of the times with his dangerous runs on the left flank. But unfortunately for the visitors, none of these chances materialised.
The best chance of the game though fell to defender Zuiverloon who failed to hit the target from 4-yards out after some fantastic work by Romeo on the right flank.
As for the visitors, they occasionally caught Delhi off guard with their counter attacks, but Dorronsoro Sanchez nullified most of the attempts.
But it was against the run of play that the hosts opened the scoring. The second half started with Kerala dominating the initial proceedings and in the 48th minute Dynamos’ defenders failed to clear off a corner and the ball landed safely into the path of CK Vineeth who poked in from close range to hand Blasters the lead.
Minutes later Romeo had the chance to equalise after Kaluderovic found him unmarked inside the box but the winger’s effort failed to test Naveen Kumar in goal.
Blasters could have doubled their advantage at the hour mark when Len Doungel did well to get past his marker but the midfielder’s effort just missed the Dynamos goal. Just over the hour mark, Vineeth could have added another to his name after the hosts did well on the counter attack, but the forward scuffed his effort wide.
Playing in front of the vivacious Kochi crowd, Delhi showed immense composure to earn their way into the game. With their possession-based style of play, the visitors started mounting pressure on the Kerala defence.
In the 73rd minute, Rene Mihelic took a quick free kick and passed the ball to Chhangte, who again set it up for the Slovenian midfielder, for him to take a shot at the goal. But it got deflected off the Kerala defence which gave Adria Carmona a good rebound chance. Unfortunately for the Spanish winger and Delhi Dynamos, the ball missed the net by inches.
Though it came really late, but Delhi was well rewarded for this constant pressure, with Andrija Kaludjerovic netting his first Indian Super League goal in the 85th minute. And it was captain Pritam Kotal with an assist, setting up a beautiful ball from the right for the Serbian striker to head home the equalizer, which silenced the entire stadium.
The match could have well ended with a victory for Delhi as the double substitution of Bikramjit Singh and Adria Carmona almost ensured the visitors a winning goal in the 88thminute. Carmona with a brilliant run passed to Bikram who stood one on one with the keeper, but unfortunately for Delhi, the offside flag was up.