In Match 3 of the ISL, Delhi Dynamos couldn’t continue their excellent pre-season form as they were held to a goalless draw thanks to some resolute goal keeping by Italian and Pune goalkeeper Emanuele Belardi. Coming on the back of scoring a massive 19 goals in friendly matches, the Dynamos were expected to continue more of the same, but Alessandro Del Piero and his boys were left frustrated thanks to Belardi’s heroics. Here is a match report from Delhi’s Dhruv Bahl.
Delhi lines up with Danish duo
Harm Van Veldhoven started the Danish duo of of Mads Junker and Martin Skuobo. With both Dutch strikers being in scintillating goal scoring form recently and with Hans Mulder slotted in behind the two, Delhi Dynamos presented itself as a formidable force upfront. Allesandro Del Piero started the game from the bench.
The game started in brilliant fashion with the first chance coming as early as in the 11th minute as Junker saw his header saved by Pune defender Ravanan. Pune had to be alert again to deny Skuobo a few minutes later. Delhi Dynamos’s midfield dominated possession with Pune happy to sit behind and soak the pressure. Francis Fernandes, Hans Mulder and Bruno Herrera looked solid in midfield and controlled the ball for most of the proceedings. Pune did create a few chances on the counter attack with Gurung looking most capable of spoiling the party in Delhi by causing a few early problems but David Trezequet looked rusty. Belardi was again tested midway into the first half by Junker with the Italian making a brilliant save to deny the Dane yet again.
Enter Del Piero
Del Piero’s introduction didn’t have a wait for long as he was brought in the 35th Minute, to replace Martin Skuobo after the striker suffered an injury during his collision with Bruno Cirillo. Del Piero almost made instant impact by laying a beautiful ball across to Junker who miscued his effort, dragging it inches wide off the post. Dynamos thought they had won themselves a penalty when Cirillo appeared to have taken Junker down but the referee waived off the protests, much to the fans’ agony.
Slower Start to 2nd Half
Much of the 2nd half was contested in the middle of the park with both teams unable to really make a mark on the game. Pune looked to break the change with Gurung’s dangerous cross which was eventually cleared away by Anwar Ali.
Mama to the Fore
India’s winger , Malswamtulunga or Mama as he is known, created an opening with his blistering pace and released Del Piero only for the former Juventus man to mishit his cross over the arriving Junker. Into the 57th minute , the pacy Mizoram winger crossed beautifully for Junker only for Belardi to again come to his side’s rescue as he parried his header away!
Pune looked to relieve some pressure by bringing on Mehrajuddin Wadoo and striker Dudu Omagbemi near the hour mark however it was Delhi that looked closer to the all important goal.
Star Watch – Allesandro Takes Off, Almost
Del Piero took the onus on himself and unleashed a sizzler from 25 yards. The ball just fizzed past the outside of the post but it gave enough indication of the class of the striker and the impact Del Piero will make as he warms up to this tournament. A Del Piero free-kick in the 84th minute found Junker’s head only for him to head it over the bar.
Belardi gets help from the Post
There was to be one occasion when the Italian goalkeeper was beaten. The Delhi Dynamos fans were a moments away from celebration as substitute Gustavo paced down the right flank and his left footed strike went past the Italian goalkeeper only to rebound back after hitting the goal post.
Goals Wins Matches
The game ended goalless and even though Delhi Dynamos were the better team, it is the Pune team that will have a smile on their face going back home with a point against a very attacking Delhi team. The Delhi Dynamos had their chances but as Harm Van Veldhoven will remind them, they need to take their chances if they are to progress ahead. It is the goals that count in the end. Emanuele Belardi was the man to watch out though as the Pune stopper was on top of his game and earned his team a vital point. Will Delhi Dynamos take their chances next time? The Dynamos faithful will certainly hope so!