NorthEast United secured a hard-fought 2-0 win against Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League (ISL) game that took place at the JLN Stadium in Delhi on Saturday. Marcinho and Danilo Lopes scored in the first half to give the Highlanders just enough advantage to hold firm until the end and ensure a win.
The hosts opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation with Kalu Uche operating as the striker in front of attacking midfielder Guyon Fernandez. Lallianzuala Chhangte was dropped to the bench and Seityasen Singh featured on the right flank. Matias Mirabaje was replaced by Jeroen Lumu on the left.
As for the visitors, they went in with a 4-1-4-1 shape with Sambinha replacing Abdul Hakku in the centre of defence and Reagan Singh coming in for Robert Lalthlamuana. Halicharan Narzary featured on the left-side replacing Lalrindika Ralte and Rowllin Borges returned to the side in place of a benched Odair Fortes.
The first major chance of the match came in the ninth minute when Danilo Lopes received the ball at his feet on the edge of the box following a defensive error by Pratik Chowdhary. The NorthEast forward cut into his right foot and curled an attempt just wide of Albino Gomes’ far post.
The alarms went off at the right time for the home side as Halicharan Narzary helped break the deadlock in the 17th minute. The forward picked up the ball from the left flank and attracted the Delhi defenders onto him, leaving Marcinho unmarked inside the box. Narzary squared for the NorthEast striker and he hit the net before the goalkeeper could do anything about it.
Delhi were dealt with another blow less than five minutes after the opening goal. Pratik Chowdhary's back-pass wasn't cleared well by Albino Gomes and Danilo Lopes was on hand to punish the goalkeeper's error. The forward slotted the ball into the net to double the visitors' lead.
The home side tried to claw back into the game as the game moved towards the end of the half, with goalkeeper proving to be the stumbling block for the team. Striker Kalu Uche forced goalkeeper Rehenesh to come off his line to block his shot on goal.
Uche's attempt from Jereon Lumu's well-taken corner was kept away by an alert NorthEast United goalkeeper.
Young sensation Lallianzuala Chhangte was introduced in place of Seityasen Singh by Miguel Angel at the restart in an attempt to break open the NorthEast backline but the game failed truly kick-off for Dynamos.
Edu Moya was thrown into the equation in place of Kalu Uche to stir things up in front of goal as the game went past the hour mark.
Delhi proceeded to take control of the game steadily. David Ngaithe's shot from inside the box was kept out by Rehenesh before the defence in front of him cleared the danger from a Chhangte cross that crept its way towards Ngaithe.
Tempers flared high during the final minutes as a frustrated Delhi tried to come back into the game but their attempts were in vain. The winning side resorted to indiscipline to stop the home side from getting any rhythm going and in the end, they managed to keep Delhi attack at bay and take away maximum points on the night.