Birthday boy Jeje Lalpekhlua's brace for Chennaiyin FC wasn't enough as Delhi Dynamos secured a crucial point in Sunday's first ISL match up. The match ended 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes.
The visitors scored in the final minute of normal time to deny Chennai three points. In doing so, they registered their first point in seven games.
Here are the major talking points of the night!
#1 Delhi take surprise lead in Chennai
Joint table toppers Chennaiyin FC hosted a bruised and battered Delhi Dynamos outfit on Sunday. While the home side was expected to pull the strings and mount further pressure on the capital side, neither team looked inspired in the opening 20 minutes.
In fact, it was the side at the bottom of the points table who finally broke the deadlock against the run of play. Delhi launched a quick counter-attack and surprisingly managed to find the back of the net, out of the blue.
David Ngaihte's bullet header was the result of a well worked out move from the wings which saw Delhi in a 3v4 situation in the final third of the pitch. The winger did extremely well to peel away from his marker and executed a flying header to give Dynamos the lead.
#2 Dynamos finally display energy and intent
Delhi Dynamos came into Sunday's encounter on the back of six consecutive losses. It wasn't the ideal time for them to face Chennaiyin FC, who were 13 points ahead of them prior to tonight's game.
But the visitors looked surprisingly rejuvenated and displayed exuberance every time they ventured forward. The likes of Vinit Rai, Romeo Fernandes, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Delhi's entire front line displayed that sense of urgency which was missing since the past few weeks.
It definitely took Chennaiyin by surprise who took some time to get into the groove. The Dynamos attacked and defended as a team. They pressed incessantly and played some slick, rapid football on the counter.
#3 Birthday boy Jeje scores superb brace
Chennai's main man Jeje Lalpekhlua turned 27 tonight and gifted himself and his faithful a well-taken header to give his side a crucial equaliser in the first half. The diminutive striker wasn't involved in the thick of things in the first half. but when he did get the opportunity, he took it with aplomb.
Rene Mihelic's free-kick found the head of Jeje who did well to shrug off his marker and caress his header passed Delhi's keeper. In doing so, he scored his fifth goal of the season, going past Sunil Chhetri and equalling Balwant Singh's tally. He then followed it up with a splendid finish, turning his marker before curling his effort past a hapless keeper.
He is now the top Indian goal scorer in the ISL (6 goals). Once again, Lalpekhlua showed tonight why he is a world class striker. He needs only a sniff to find the back of the net. He may not have got on the ball as often as he liked but when he did, he made Delhi pay.
#4 Leader Inigo Calderon vital to Chennaiyin's success
Chennaiyin's right back Inigo Calderon is 36 years old. He has played every single match for his side so far in this season. Tonight, like every other night, he showed why he is vital to his team's success this season.
Inigo is a no-nonsense defender who keeps things simple. He may not have the style that today's fullbacks posses but his leadership skills come to the fore. The Spaniard leads by example, putting his body on the line when defending. Against Delhi, he was seen regularly pumping up his colleagues.
Interceptions, clearances, he does it all with impressive effectiveness. There are times when he marauded forward all the way to the other end of the pitch and helped his teammates out too. Calderon's positive energy makes Chennaiyin tick.
#5 Delhi finally secure a point after six losses
In the very last minute of normal time, Delhi Dynamos scored a crucial second goal to equalise proceedings. In doing so, they might have saved their 2017-18 ISL campaign. The capital side looked on course for a seventh consecutive loss but were duly rewarded for their persistence.
Guyon Fernandez tapped in from close range after Uche's well-directed header found him completely unmarked and open. Come to think of it, the visitors deserved that equaliser given how they kept attacking Chennai's back line all night long.
Guyon's goal gave Delhi only their fourth point out of a possible twenty-four. In the larger scheme of things, this point could well prove to be the motivation that the Dynamos needed. A favourable result against the table toppers will surely hold them in good stead.