Delhi Dynamos registered back-to-back wins for the first time in the tournament as they ran out 4-1 winners over Mumbai City FC in a crucial home game. The win keeps Delhi well and truly in the hunt while hurting their opponents’ chances and also will be a good confidence booster as the team goes into the stretch run of the ISL.The following five talking points emerged from this game in the capital:
#1 Delhi\'s own Brazilian star
His popularity grows with every game and why not? The 20-year old Brazilian Gustavo Dos Santos has become an important starter for Harm van Veldhoven’s team after initially being on the fringes and appearing mostly as a substitute. He now has three goals in four games and is in a rich vein of form, providing the Delhi attack with a lot of incisiveness.
His speed and finishing had shone through in earlier games and tonight he showcased that he’s an adept passer too. He now sits second in the goal scorers’ charts and his coming of age will be a positive Delhi can do with in this final run of league games.
#2 No Del Piero, no problem
Coach van Veldhoven of the Dynamos conceded post game that he would have loved to have Alessandro Del Piero fit and available, especially to throw on late in games. But his team look to be finding some good form without the Juventus legend, so much so, that his presence has not been missed.
The Indian players in the team have particularly impressed and the team has shown good cohesiveness, something Mumbai lacked today. Del Piero will definitely be welcomed back keenly by both the coach and his fellow players, but two excellent overall team displays without their marquee player can only be good news for van Veldhoven.
#3 More away blues for Mumbai
Mumbai are yet to win on the road in the ISL and it is a trend that is affecting their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals. It is not just that their losing, but the fact that they are losing heavily with the defence in particular falling to bits away from home.
Today’s 1-4 loss was the latest in a string of heavy defeats on the road that includes a 0-3 loss to Atletico de Kolkata on the opening day and a 1-5 loss to Chennaiyin FC. The crease lines were clearly visible on coach Peter Reid’s forehead by the time the final whistle came around and there simply seems no end to their misery away from their D.Y. Patil Stadium.
#4 Mumbai break goal drought, but still struggling in attack
The one positive to emerge for Mumbai was that they ended their four-game goal drought as substitute Abhishek Yadav pulled one back on 86 minutes. It was a really good finish by the India veteran who was making his debut in the ISL.
The former Mahindra United man showed some good touch after coming on and along with fellow substitute Javi Fernandez provided Mumbai with some much needed impetus in the attacking third with his movement. Until the final 20 minutes though, Delhi did not have much trouble containing Mumbai’s threat, as has been the case for the last couple of games.
They are struggling to create chances and when Andre Moritz does not play, like today, they seem to look lost for options going forward. Reid said post match that Yadav will start the next game after making a good impression and that Nicolas Anelka will hopefully be fit. Mumbai need to up the ante and do it soon, else they are going to miss out on the final four.
#5 The goalless draws disappear as goals return
There was a stretch in the middle phase of the league when we saw a number of draws, particularly goalless ones. Teams at the time, especially the ones in front, were playing it cautiously in order to sustain their positions at the top.
However, now with a mad rush on for a place in the final four, almost all the teams are displaying good attacking intent and are not holding back.
Yesterday we saw NorthEast United FC take the game by the scruff of the neck from the first minute as they went full tilt at league leaders Chennai and were rewarded with a 3-0 win. Today Delhi have won 4-1.
This will likely be the trend till the final league game, bringing back the excitement and fun fromt the early games.