Today Delhi Dynamos will have a spring in their step as they take on Kerala Blasters in the return semi-final fixture of Hero Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi.
Delhi Dynamos lost the first-leg semi-final 0-1 away in Kochi but as the teams lock horns again, Delhi will have enough reasons to believe they can overturn the deficit and make it to their first-ever final. What will give Delhi confidence is their encouraging home record as they are the only team not to lose at home and have scored 18 goals at home, the most by any team in ISL this season.
Kerala Blasters need only a draw to qualify for their second final in three years. They will be keen to overcome Delhi or at least hold them as they will then return to Kochi for the grand finale.
Kerala Blasters are the only away team which failed to score in Delhi this season. Besides, they are on a four-match winless run away from home. Even if they fail to score again and fail to win, it will be fine with Coppell. All that his team needs to do is ensure Delhi Dynamos do not win to return to Kochi for one final battle.
In the start of the game, Kerala went on the attack straightaway and Delhi have since managed to hold on to the ball to provoke a corner. The ball was aimed at the near post and easily cleared by Kerala. Delhi will be dealing with a very determined defence, Aaron Hughes, Hengbart, Jhingan and Josu have proved themselves to be a formidable back-four.
A chance came in start of 15min, when, Josu sent a ball forward and it landed only a few feet away from Vineeth in the box. He tried to put a cross in and ends up getting a corner. Whereas CK Vineeth has been the player for Kerala so far. He has been threatening inside the box and has also managed to keep a check on Kean Lewis, sprinting backwards whenever the latter is on the ball.
GOAL: Delhi Dynamos 1-0 Kerala Blasters (Marcelinho 20′)
Boris Kadio makes a mess of a clearence and the ball drops to Marcelinho with Sandip Nandy wrongfooted, he slots into the goal.
GOAL: Delhi Dynamos 1-1 Kerala Blasters (Nazon 23′)
A classic counter when Kerala put a beautiful ball forward that went to Nazon with a lovely individual goal. Delhi was caught out and Nazon sprinted towards goal and placed it perfectly.
During the gameplay,the referee has made three bookings in five minutes, out of which one is a red card for Milan Singh. It has turned out to be a good decision as he caught Mehtab Hussein was caught below the knee.Hussein had to be stretchered off.
GOAL: Delhi Dynamos 1-0 Kerala Blasters (Marcelinho 20′)
It was a long ball that had no threat in it and Kerala could not clear it well. It fell straight to Marcelinho who only had to deal with an empty goal post. Delhi right back in it.
Some drama again, Marcelinho down on the ground while the gall went in. He gets up complaining to the referee gesturing for a card.
The referee takes out his card again, this time for Marcelinho and Josu which means both would miss out the finals if they are through. Wonder if any of the 22 players on the pitch are not going to be shown some card by the end of the match.
Six minutes of added time to the first half, as expected. Delhi Dynamos have looked sprightly for a team that is down to 10 men but there is no doubt that the match changed between 20th and the 30th minute. Or rather, stayed the same.
Half time!! Delhi Dynamos 2-1 Kerala Blasters
The game has been intense, but the football has been dire. Too many controversies, too many cards, too many players paly-acting and trying to get people send off.
During the start of 2nd half, a good effort from Florent Malouda made a winding run into the box and glided past a number of defenders. The shot was completely off target.
Kerala saved by Jhinghan and later Aaron Hughes. Doblas gets away with it once again as he comes off the line to punch the ball away, Malouda headed it towards goal and Jhinghan was the man running to the goal and manages to head it out. Hughes then cleared it.
Delhi Dynamos are playing with 10 men and are still able to make life difficult for Kerala Blasters. No goals have gone in yet but Kerala have let Delhi stay on the ball and now its wave after wave of Delhi attacks.
Malouda comes close once again after a quick counter attack from delhi Dynamos. Kerala look to be the side that are feeling heavy on their legs as they are not able to keep up with pace with which Delhi are attacking.
90min up, and four minutes added on. It doesn’t look like either of the two sides are capable of scoring now and it seems they will have to play an extra 30 minutes at least to decide who faces Atletico de Kolkata in the finals.
Full Time: Delhi Dynamos 2-1 Kerala Blasters (2-2), match goes into extra time. 30 mins will decide who goes to the final.
Kerala seem to be have brought this upon themselves. There were many instances when the Kerala attackers outnumber the Delhi defenders in their half and still decided to take a shot from an improbable distance or the attack fizzles out with a poor pass.
Malouda on a lovely run, he takes on Jhingan and Hughes, and goes past both of them with ease and shoots, the ball is parried away by Sandip and Marcelinho skies the rebound with a open goal.
Kerala Blasters finally get an attack going. CK Vineeth provided a long ball from the flanks and almost found Nazon but it was headed out by a defender near him. Both teams are going for it stick and needle despite the amount of minutes that they have played now.
HT : Time for some drinks. The game has slowed down, and the teams seem to be struggling with a higher tempo. I think both teams will take the penalty shootouts at the moment.
Kerala have been tactically poor in extra time. All they needed was to keep tha ball as much as possible but they have done exactly the opposite and have made all sorts of bad decisions in the final third.
FT: That’s it, off to the dreaded penalty shootouts.
Kerala have been lacklustre in extra time. 10-man Delhi have put them under pressure time and again and now the one man advantage they had doesn’t matter, it is all down to the nerves of the two keepers and the men taking the kicks.
Josu is the first man to take it and he SCORES Delhi 0-1 Kerala.
Malouda comes on for Delhi Dynamos and MISSES Delhi 1-1 Kerala. That has gone soaring above the crossbar. He had a great match so far, quite an unceremonious end if it proves costly.
German steps up for Kerala and MISSES. Great save from Doblas.
Bruno Pelissari next for Delhi and MISSES. That’s another one going way above the crossbar. Its still Delhi 0-1 Kerala.
Kervens Belfort steps up for Kerala and SCORES. Delhi 0-2 Kerala
Nandi SAVES once again.
Rafique steps up for Kerala and SCORES. Kerala are through to the ISL 2016 Finals.
It was a wonderful game of football, (maybe not just in a footballing sense), but congratulations to the Kerala Blasters fans. That’s it from us today, it was a pleasure bringing the game to you. Join us for the live coverage for Manchester United’s game tonight by the myth and the legend Anirudh Menon.
#KERALA BLASTERS vs ATLETICO DE KOLKATA for the FINAL.