Delhi Dynamos edged ATK by 4-3 in an enthralling Indian Super League (ISL) clash at the national capital on Saturday. Kalu Uche (22' and 69'), Seityasen Singh (71') and Matias Mirabaje (90+2) scored for the winners while Robbie Keane's brace (52' and 58') and Gabriel Cichero's own goal (37') account for the visitors' goals.
Miguel Angel Portugal made wholesome changes to the side that drew with FC Goa, making as many as five. Out went Munmun Lugun, Mohammad Dhot, Manuel Arana, Romeo Fernandes and Matias Mirabaje. In their stead came in Seityasen Singh, Pritam Kotal, Sena Ralte, Paulinho Dias and Jeroen Lumu.
ATK interim coach Ashley Westwood, on the other hand, made three changes from the side that started in the 1-2 loss to Mumbai City. Star-striker Robbie Keane returned as expected from his injury layoff to replace Martin Paterson up top while Shankar Sampingiraj replaced Darren Caldeira in midfield. South African Sibongakonke Mbatha meanwhile came in for Bipin Singh as Soram Poirei kept his place in goal even ahead of Debjit Majumder who had to contend with a bench-role on his return from injury.
It was the home side who started the match much on the front-foot as they dominated possession across the park. Lallianzuala Chhaangte and Jeroen Lumu were combining well on the left-flank while Pritam Kotla and Seityasen Singh bombed forward from the right.
The home side, however, could not find the perfect cross to get skipper Kalu Uche into business and it was the visitors who had the first shot on goal It, however, came through a tame long-range effort from Keane which Delhi custodian Xabier had no trouble in collecting.
Westwood was forced into an early change as midfielder Ryan Taylor went down injured and had to be replaced by Hitesh Sharma in the 21st minute. A minute later, the hosts were in front through Kalu Uche’s seventh goal in six games. Seityasen Singh delivered a dangerous cross from the right which the ATK defence failed to clear and the Dynamos skipper pounced from just a few yards out to slam the ball into the back of the net.
Very much against the run of play, the visitors conjured an equalizer out of nowhere through Mbatha getting in on the act. The right-winger bombed inside the box and his cross aimed for Keane took a deflection of Gabriel Cichero to settle into the back of the net in the 37th minute.
The visitors ended the first period strongly with Mbatha creating problems for Ralte on the right0flank as both teams went into the interval at 1-1.
ATK went in front minutes into the second half after Vinit Rai brought down Robbie Keane at the edge of the box. The Irishman stepped up himself to take it and curled it delicately over the wall to leave Xabier rooted to his spot.
Keane struck the crossbar with an audacious chip with Xabier stranded outside the box before firing in his second of the night through a rebound. Once again Mbatha had the beating of Ralte before he fired in a fierce shot. Xabier saved that effort but the Irishman made no mistake from the rebound.
The hosts reduced the deficit to one goal in the 69th minute after Manuel Arana released Seityasen down the right flank. The winger squared up the ball for Uche to score his 10th of the season through a simple tap-in. The provider turned scorer just a minute later after slamming home a low cross from Chhangte as Delhi came storming back into the tie.
Both sides went in search of the winner in the dying minutes as several chances were created and the hosts finally got their reward in added-time as substitute Matias Mirabaje left-footed shot from inside the box gave Poirei no chance.
The win lifts Delhi above ATK in eighth place as they extended their unbeaten run to four matches.