Delhi Dynamos held the sway at their home ground in the first leg of their semi-final encounter with FC Goa. It was touted to be a contest to set the supremacy in Brazilian flamboyance. That was not the scene as the home team edged Zico’s men by a solitary goal.
Robin Singh headed the all-important goal in the 42nd minute as Delhi Dynamos defeated Goa for the first time in the two-year history of the Indian Super League.
The victory will give Delhi Dynamos an edge going into the second leg semi-final to be played in Goa on December 15.
Both teams made a host of changes from the team that played the last league clash on Sunday. The well rested superstars were called back into action.
FC Goa started with a defensive ploy, allowing Delhi Dynamos a hold on the game in the early stages. But it was a drab display of numerous back passes and each side waiting to pounce on the counterattack.
Chances, however, were hard to come by as neither team was willing to give an inch to the other. It was not until the 11th minute that FC Goa had the first good look at the rival goal and it turned out to be the only chance in the opening 45 minutes.
The chance came from a swift counter-attack where Jofre Gonzalez crossed from the left for CS Sabeeth, who rose high to meet the ball but his header from close range sailed wide.
Delhi Dynamos took time to absorb the initial movement and a bit of pace from the Gaurs as Romeo Fernandez replaced Raju Gaikwad. Roberto Carlos’ team had to toil to make some forays into the compact defensive unit of FC Goa.
In the 41st minute, Florent Malouda floated a ball into the goalmouth where Adil Nabi danced his way past Pronay Halder and then played it back for Gustavo Dos Santos who could not direct the ball into the goal from handshaking distance.
That was indicative of what was to follow. At the brink of half time Robin Singh found the back of the net to make it 1-0 for Delhi Dynamos. Dos Santos did well to hold the ball away from Narayan Das and then find Chicao, who crossed it into the box where Robin got ahead of Lucio and headed it into the back of the net.
In the second session, Delhi Dynamos continued with their dominating ways but could not add to their opening goal despite a colossal amount of chances. Shylo Malsawmtluanga and Florent Malouda could not keep their cool when inside the danger box and in scoring positions, while FC Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani kept Goa in the hunt with a good save to deny Gustavo dos Santos, later adjudged Man-of-the-Match.
FC Goa had limited chances with Leo Moura faltering twice. At first, his snap shot from close range was blocked by Delhi goalkeeper Toni Doblas and another chance saw the Brazilian midfielder balloon the ball over.