Kerala Blasters played out an eventful goalless draw against Delhi Dynamos. Although the match ended with no goals, both sides had equal goal scoring opportunities to score the winner.
With the home support behind them, Kerala Blasters lined up in an unusual 4-1-3-2 formation. Although the Sachin Tendulkar co-owned side have used this formation before, it exposed and vacated the midfield region extensively. Sandesh Jhinghan, finally started in his favored position of center back, alongside Cedric Hengbart while Barisic started with Iain Hume in a two man strike force.
Delhi's birthday boy Alessandro del Piero led the contingent out of the tunnel, as the Dynamos featured in a 4-4-1-1 formation. Adil Khan replaced Steven Dias and Robert too started for the away side. The midfield pairing of Hans Mulder and Bruno Arrias once again seemed to be Delhi's strongest link, as the visitors took to the field.
Plenty of chances, no goals
Although both sides created equal goal scoring opportunities in the first half, Delhi's Mads Junker undoubtedly had the best of the lot, as a cross from Adil Khan met Junker's header, which was kept out by David James.
Kerala Blasters also had their fair share of chances, as Iain Hume constantly troubled the Delhi back four. The Candian also appealed for a penalty after a tussle with Anwar Ali in Delhi's 18 yard box but the referee decided it was not a foul.
Kerala Blasters undoubtedly had the upper hand in the opening minutes of the match, but Delhi Dynamos slowly developed their game and countered Kerala's approach.
The Dynamos also showcased a penchant for 'dirty football' in the first half, as the visitors committed eight fouls as compared to Kerala's mere five. Kristof van Hout as always stood firm for the travellling contingent, as his tall figure repelled all Kerala attacks.
A nil nil score at half-time, was the best impression of the first half, as even after creating plenty of goal scoring opportunities, neither side could find the back of the net.
Delhi Dynamos started the second half by initiating some good pressing. Kerala meanwhile did not hold back their intention to grab all three points, as Milagres Gonsalves was introduced in a three man strike-force.
Following spells in which Delhi created opportunities but failed to score, their coach Harm van Veldhoven could not control his anger and acted out, kicking a bottle onto the field, resulting in the referee sending him to the stands.
Almost exactly like the first half, Delhi Dynamos even though oushed back by a barrage of Kerala attacks created the best goal scoring opportunity of the second half, as a Bruno Arias shot was blocked by Cedric Hengbart, who literally threw himself at the ball. Although Hengbart handled the ball, the referee waved away any claims of a penalty kick.
Following end to end football, both sides failed to find the net as Kristof van Hout kept out Kerala attacks, while Delhi Dynamos lacked the cutting edge going forward. Delhi’s Pavel Elias missed a free header in the dying minutes of the game, as the game opened up nicely for either side.
With neither side able to find the elusive goal, the match concluded as a goalless draw and both the sides picked up a point each.