Delhi Dynamos picked up their first win against Chennaiyin as they defeated the defending champions 3-1 at the Marina Arena on Saturday evening.
Daniel Lalhlimpuia's (16') opener was cancelled out by Raphael Augusto (39') from the spot but two second-half goals from Bikramjit Singh (78') and Nanda Kumar (82') were enough to seal the three points for the visitors.
There were a combined nine changes across both sides as India internationals Germanpreet Singh and Pritam Kotal made a return for their respective teams.
Raphael Augusto did not make life easy for Dynamos’ shot-stopper Francisco Dorronsoro as the Brazilian attempted two shots early on, both on target.
However, the deadlock was broken by the visitors, almost against the run of play. Former Chennaiyin FC man Rene Mihelic set up Nandhakumar Sekar on the left side after Inigo Calderon failed to mark his run.
It was another ex-Chennaiyin player in Daniel Lalhlimpuia that headed into the net on the first time of asking, past a hapless Karanjit Singh.
Augusto kept his usual gusto, peppering the Dynamos’ defence with his range of trickery and skills. Even Carlos Salom tested Dorronsoro but the Spanish goalkeeper came out top on several occasions.
The equaliser did arrive but from the six-yard spot. Young defender Mohammed Sajid Dhot’s challenge from behind on Salom inside the box prompted referee Ajitkumar Meitei to award a penalty kick for the home side.
Augusto made no mistake as he lashed the ball into the net with Dorronsoro diving the other way as the 27-year-old nullified Dynamos’ lead.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Augusto had an empty net to aim at from the set-piece but he managed only to blast it over the crosspiece, missing a gilt-edged opportunity to get the lead going into the break.
Isaac Vanmalsawma was brought back into the mix in the second half and a moment of indecision from the youngster denied Chennaiyin noses to edge ahead. Past the hour mark, the former Lajong man could have released the ball for Thoi who had an open goal in front but he took too long and hit a weak shot himself.
In the last quarter of an hour of the game, Delhi scripted their comeback. Substitute Andrija Kaludjerovic chipped the ball for Lallianzuala Chhangte to zoom forward on the counter. A pass to Bikramjit inside the box and another former Chennaiyin man had scored, this time deciding not to celebrate in respect.
Nandhakumar hit the final nail on Chennaiyin coffin. Chhangte’s corner kick was initially cleared out but the loose ball fell onto the local boy. The former Chennai City man took an angled shot and luckily for Mailson Alves’ deflection, the ball went into the net past an unassuming Karanjit looking the other way.
Even Jeje Lalpekhlua’s introduction paid no dividends as he remained without scoring a goal in the 531 minutes of club football, he had played this season ahead of the Asian Cup.
The result saw the capital-based move to seven points, two more than Chennaiyin and push the defending champions to the bottom of the pile before the winter break.