ISL 2016: Delhi Dynamos - Flying high and into the playoffs
It was another fiery finish from table toppers Delhi Dynamos as they routed FC Goa 5-1 at the capital. A hattrick from Marcelinho and a brace from Richard Gadze ensured 3 points for the Dynamos. It was the final home game for Gianluca Zambrotta’s men who looked in imperious form.
With the win, Delhi are the only team to stay unbeaten at home this season. They have won thrice and drawn four times this season at home. The comprehensive win against Goa established their propinquity towards the playoffs.
The boisterous display from the Delhi Dynamos has taken them to the second spot with 20 points from 12 matches.
There are a number of factors for the unforeseen success of the Dynamos. Not taking anything away from the coach, the players have complimented the strategy brilliantly. At every department, the team has combined seamlessly to create magnificent results on the pitch.
Gianluca Zambrotta is one of those new age coaches who are quite raw in their style. Consequently, he believes in extreme perseverance to pile up pressure. His hard pressing football seemed a difficult proposition in the Indian climate. But, the brawny Delhi players have transcended the same to the field effectively.
The quick passing and agile movements have left the opposition clueless in crunch situations. Deft touches or exquisite dummies have been executed in a flawless fashion. As a result, the transition from defence to attack has been made in a matter of seconds. Each player has moved the ball quickly, leaving the other side chasing shadows. This has covered up individual shortcomings vis-à-vis lack of blistering pace.
Midfield fulcrum has functioned tirelessly
Florent Malouda has now become a household name in the Hero Indian Super League. His association with Delhi Dynamos has changed the face of the team significantly. With bags of experience, Malouda still retains the deceptive movements to fool the opposition. His incisive passing has led to brilliant counter attacks through the middle.
At 36, the erstwhile pacey winger has been functioning as a central midfielder. He has owned his position, channelling some free flowing football. Consequently, the performance of the team has been a pleasure on the eyes.
The depth of the Delhi squad imparts steel to their performances
Precise passes and immaculate first touches enhance the confidence of a team massively. A similar effect has been witnessed for Delhi as the rounds have progressed. Staying unbeaten at home speaks volumes about the depth of the squad that Zambrotta has at his disposal.
When Toni Doblas sat out injured, 23-year-old goalkeeper Soram Poirei was handed his first start under the bar. Against FC Pune City, Poirei stole the show in the first half, denying a number of one on one opportunities and saving a penalty. Although eventually, Pune went on to pip Delhi 4-3, the first half performance of Poirei earned him a permanent place in the starting eleven.
Since then, there has been no looking back for the Manipuri. His stoical presence has calmed the defence and reduced their workload considerably. The unfazed nature of the young custodian reflects his ability to handle big match situations. He could go on to become the find of the season if he keeps this up.
A few names that stood out
29-year-old Marcelinho has been instrumental in shaping the attacking dynamics of the Dynamos. He is ruling the goal scoring charts with 8 goals to his name. There are 2 more group stage matches which would only add to his tally.
Coming in with hordes of experience, Marcelinho has adapted impeccably to the Indian conditions. His bags of trickery have deceived the defenders on numerous occasions. With his rasping volleys, the Brazilian has beaten the best in the business. His goal scoring prowess has made him a fan favourite in his first season itself and It would not be surprising if next year, teams came swooping for his signature.
Next would have to be the Mohun Bagan man Kean Lewis. At just 24, the maturity exhibited by this Mumbai lad has been exceptional. He has looked extremely comfortable in possession, an attribute seldom found among Indian footballers.
Kean’s wise decision-making, neat passing in the opposition third and occasional forays into the penalty box make him a very intelligent footballer overall. While he does not possess electrifying pace or eye-catching moves on the flanks, his ability to retain the ball under extreme pressure has been his biggest strength.
It has been a coherent performance every time Delhi Dynamos have taken the field. The current form of the team makes them a strong contender for the finals. It remains to be seen how Zambrotta lines up for the remaining two away games.
Does he go for 6 points or rotate the squad to rest some of his overused players? Regardless, expect the same top class football every time the team takes the field.