Delhi Dynamos Fights Back the Match of the Season in a 4-3 Thriller against ATK: The Talking Points

Rohit Ganguly  |  Indian Super League  |  1 Year Ago

Delhi overturned a 3-1 deficit and pumped in three late goals to hand another drubbing to Kolkata in a thrilling encounter at home. Uche’s brace and a goal apiece from Seityasen Singh and Mirabaje sealed the fate of the game for Delhi despite ATK went 3-1 up around the hour mark, thanks to a brace from Irish striker, Robbie Keane and an own goal from Cichero.


In a fight of low languishing teams in the table, Delhi came out on top after they exhibited an exultant display across the entire field. Despite Kolkata’s resurgence early in the second-half, they were not able to cling on to it and just as they thought that a two-goal cushion will be surfeit to keep Delhi at bay, they were proved wrong as the hosts rode roughshod over the visitors in the final half-hour of the game.


Uche drew first blood for the hosts as he punished the ATK defence mercilessly for the howler from Anwar Ali that paved the way for the goal. Setyasen who was in an exuberant and upbeat mood today, whipped in a beautiful cross intended for any one of the Delhi players surging ahead to skelp the delivery home. However, the chip took a sturdy deflection of Anwar Ali and rolled into the path of a lurking Uche who calmly slotted the ball home.



ATK suffered a double whammy as Ryan Taylor, a former Newcastle and Hull City striker, had to be substituted off the pitch due to an injury and Hitesh Sharma came in for the stalwart.


Just as the first-half was heading towards a game of positive football from both the contingencies and was embellished with a solitary goal from Delhi, ATK struck an equalizer, eight minutes from half-time. Mbatha was one of the best players for ATK in the field and he was the engineer for the goal as he belted out a peach of a cross, intended for Robbie Keane. However, before the ball could have reached the Irish star, it took a deflection of Cichero’s feet and flew into the net, thereby drawing things level.


Right from the outset of the second-half, ATK took over the reins of the game as Robbie Keane and Mbatha started pulling strings from the front. The belligerence upfront fructified just within six minutes from the breather, as ATK was handed a free-kick just outside the box after Robbie Keane was tripped. The ATK skipper stepped up to the task of whipping in the free-kick and curled the ball into the back of the net past a stranded Xabier.


Keane knew no relent in his efforts as just after the goal, his chip ricocheted off the woodwork. Spotting the Delhi custodian way off his line, the Irish talisman tried to dink the ball over Xabier. However, the chip struck the woodwork and went out for a goal-kick.


Two minutes later, ATK doubled their lead as Robbie Keane saw things off in an emphatic fashion after a brilliant encounter led by Mbatha. Mbatha revved down the right wing with pace and skipped past a diving Cichero, cut into the box and dodged past an out-stretched foot of Rodriguez and unleashed a pile-driver at a precarious Xabier whose muffed effort to thwart the attempt saw the ball dropping in front of an opportunistic Keane. Robbie Keane calmly tapped the ball in to make it 3-1 for the visitors.


Just as everyone was thinking that ATK had run away with the game, Delhi staged a dramatic comeback not only to square things off but seal a victory with a last-minute strike. The theatrics of the comeback were crafted by Uche who nudged the ball home after being teed-up by Chhangte from the right. Chhangte passed the ball low into the box and Uche unmistakably tapped the ball into the net with a deft touch of his left foot.

ATK’s joys were all quelled when Setyasen Singh, the bright lad in today’s game got rewarded handsomely for his erstwhile heroics. Arana spotted an on-the-run Chhangte down the left and released the ball for this diminutive Indian winger. Chhangte latched on to the ball and released the ball for Setyasen who blasted the ball into the back of the net to restore parity for the hosts.


Delhi kept on piling immense pressure on the Kolkata rearguard in the dying embers of the game. Just a minute before the final whistle, Kolkata was left lamenting their missed opportunities after Delhi combined brilliantly to peg back Kolkata with a late strike.


The move emanated from Lumu who swerved left and right, bemusing the visitors and released the ball for Arana. Arana did a decent job in dodging past Ashutosh Mehta and played the ball to Uche, who gently touched the ball for a waiting Mirabje who placed the ball into the bottom-left corner of the net past a hapless Poirei to walk away with the bragging rights.

We will sneak a peek into today’s pointers that impacted this nail-biting thriller.

Attacking football from both ends

Despite this match being a duel between two low-lying teams, there were enough ingredients in the match to make it a super-hit. Delhi started dictating terms initially but bowed out momentarily to Kolkata’s tenacious brilliance led by their star striker, Robbie Keane, and a stellar Mbatha.


However, Delhi fought their way back into the game through Arana, Uche, Setyasen, and Lumu. All four of them were fabulous and held imperious sway in the midfield to hassle and harrow Kolkata.



Kolkata could have got an early spot-kick when Ryan Thomas’ cross caught an out-stretched arm of Vinit. Despite loud appeals of a penalty from the visitors, the stickler decided to play on.


Seven thrilling and beautiful goals laced with two woodwork strikes and plenty of brilliant saves corroborated the amount of attack which was done by both the teams against each other.

The gentry of the attacks probed every single individual’s flair. The strikers and the attackers were up to the task of nailing the balls into the back of the net and the defenders were under the cosh right from the outset to the sunset of the game trying to keep their counterparts at bay.

Keane and Mbatha drummed for Uche and Lumu’s song

As the game surged ahead, it was an intriguing duel between four top-notch players. For Delhi, Uche and Lumu upped the ante and their counterblast was blared loud enough by Robbie Keane and Mbatha.


Right since the beginning of the game, Lumu tried to probe the ATK defence with a gentle cross of his but the ball was well-cleared by ATK. Just within ten minutes of the game, Lumu cut back in from the right side with blazing speed and laid off an impeccable pass for Uche, however, the ball was waylaid by Poirei.



Uche rose to the occasion for the first time when he unleashed a powerful header from Chhangte’s corner but the header went haywire.


Lumu started running on both wings and unleashed a battery of impeccable crosses and passes for the Delhi attackers to slay. Uche complemented him brilliantly as he was always chasing the ball and was at the right end of the passes either to test Poirei or being refuted by the refulgence of ATK defence or simply to score on a couple of occasions.


Robbie Keane and Mbatha on the other end were replicas of the former duo. Keane was the marksman shouldered with the onus of finishing and Mbatha ran amok across the entire pitch with interminable stamina.


It was Mbatha’s pile-driver that went into the back of the net to restore parity for the visitors. After cutting past a couple of defenders with sheer blistering speed, Mbatha unleashed a flyer at the goal. Before Robbie Keane could have poked at it, the ball took a slight deflection of Cichero and flew into the net.


Robbie Keane curled in a peach of a free-kick which left a flat-footed Xabier stranded and fixated to his spot, adulating the artistic beauty of the goal.


It was Keane again to double the lead for the visitors as he was at the right place at the right time. When the ball was mishandled by Xabier from a Mbatha pile-driver, Keane tapped in the ball with consummate ease from point-blank range.


Mbatha’s speed was always a bane to Delhi today and Keane’s finishing finesse made him as one of the most venerated players across the pitch in today’s game.

The Classic Revenge Match from both sides

We witnessed seven classic finishes from both the teams tonight. However, out of those seven goals, at least three were due to goal-keeping errors and both the custodians would probably love to forget tonight at the earliest.


In case of the first goal of ATK, Xabier should have made his way off the line and try and cut the pass short. However, he was too reliant on his defender and allowed the ball to be veered off into the net. Xabier was again mistaken as he rushed off his line needlessly thereby leaving the goal susceptible to any coups from the visitors. Robbie Keane was quick to spot the advanced custodian and tried his luck with a delicate cheap only for the ball to smite the woodwork.


In case of the first goal for Delhi, Poirei was in a quandary to charge for the ball when it took a slight deflection of Anwar Ali. His momentary hesitation gave ample time to Uche to fall back and finish.


Despite the fact that Poirei made few redoubtable saves towards the end to redeem himself, the damage was already done and no remedies could have healed that burn.

Where will Delhi Dynamos end their season?


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