Even though they had most of the chances and overall looked the better team it wasn’t to be for Delhi Dynamos in their opening match of the fifth Hero Indian Super League campaign against Pune City.
With the two sides lining up in formations that looked set to neutralise each other it was natural to think that the wings would be where the attacks would come as Delhi’s 4-2-3-1 and Pune’s 4-1-4-1 put plenty of bodies in the middle of the park.
And it was indeed down the wing that the first chances started appearing as Pune’s left winger Muhammed Kuruniyan was perhaps the man who saw the most of the ball in the opening 15 minutes, however, his varied quality of crosses ensured that while Pune got some shots off, Delhi keeper Francisco Dorronsoro didn’t have all that much to do.
Goal of the season candidate and a magic trick
That’s how you best describe the two goals this game had to offer up. First the thunderbolt from Rana Gharami just before half time to give Delhi the lead: From what must have been 40 meters out from the goal, the defender had a go. The ball weaved through the air before landing in the net behind a Pune goalkeeper who could do nothing but stand and watch as the ball sailed into the net.
Then Delhi pulled a goal out of thin air, just minutes before the match was over to bring it all level: Diego Carlos got the ball in the box and with ease and skill slotted the ball through an almost non-existing gap between two Delhi defender and past Dorronsoro at a very tight angle.
The aerial and ground battle
While possession in this game ended up being 50-50 it was clear that Pune was the more confident side when it came to sending the ball a long way up the pitch. Almost twice as many successful long balls and over 20 more attempted ones than Delhi, the guys in the Pune back line were solid with their long ball strategy.
Delhi had a higher number of passes and pass completion, but not by so much that it was overwhelming, yet they did look the better side in possession and had quite a few dangerous low crosses, compared to the high ones sent in by Pune.
Mostly wet gunpowder up top
However, unfortunately for Delhi, Andrija Kaludjerovic continued doing what he did at Wellington Phoenix and later at Olimpija Ljubljana; being a bad footballer in front of goal. The Serbian had several big opportunities to put Delhi two goals ahead before Pune scored and the Delhi fans will hope he can lace on his shooting boots next time as most of his attempts were harmlessly wide or sky high above goal.
So all in all, looking at just the stats, a draw would perhaps seem fair, but neither team can be happy with all of their performance, even though the two goals they did let in were close to “freaks of nature”. The defensive bit was solid for the most part from both teams, but the attacking side lacked a lot of sting, both from Pune captain Emiliano Alfaro, even though he did assist Diego Carlos on the goal, and the aforementioned Kaludjerovic.