Delhi Dynamos defeated Pune City 3-2 in their opening game of the ISL, which could be divided into two drastically different halves. However, Pune coach Ranko Popovic would only want to remember his side's positive first-half display and prevent the indisciplined second half that cost them the game.
defence starts with a bang and ends with a whimper
Pune’s gameplan coming into the match was bang on - a star-studded attack that banked more on quality than quantity. However, all their plans went out the window, in the opening seconds, when Jewel Raja limped off and the hosts’ immediate objective switched to measuring their opponent’s strength. However, Delhi’s simple tactics of attacking from the wings to set up Kalu Uche was too obvious and Rafael Lopez and Sarthak Golui didn’t let the Nigerian get close the astonishing 10 first half crosses that were meant for him. At the other end, Emiliano Alfaro, Marcelinho, and Jonatan Lucca were growing in confidence as Pune finished the half as the better side.
Finishing the half confidently meant that Pune didn’t have to change too much, but Delhi did. The visitors made a slight adjustment by getting a midfield runner to support Uche in the box. It paid off instantly as Paulinho’s late run was not tracked and the hosts found themselves a goal down within seconds of the restart. What followed was an utter capitulation. Errors by both
90s football is back
To put it simply, Delhi looked like one of those irritating FIFA players who keep the ball in
Brand new Pune, same old problems
Despite not finishing in the playoff spots in ISL short history, Pune
Next season, they brought in Romania’s Adrian Mutu and Uche, along with Premier League’s experienced Tuncay Sanli. They finished seventh that season. Even the third time wasn’t the charm, despite bringing in title-winning coach in Antonio Habas.This year they have acquired another set of players with the likes Delhi stars Marcelinho, Kean Lewis, and Marcos Tebar. They need to learn from the likes of ATK and Kerala and hold on to a core group of players so that they can some sort of continuity instead of starting every season afresh.
While the young Lallianzuala Chhangte was adjudged as the player of the match, Matias Mirabaje could make a serious argument that it wasn’t the right call. Not only does the Delhi No. 10 get a stunning goal to back his claim, but he was their lynchpin in midfield throughout the game. With a passing accuracy of 88% and with as many as three clearances, the South American dominated the midfield both offensively and defensively.
Though he would gladly credit the lightning quick left side - Chhangte and Lalhmangaihsanga Ralte - who managed to contribute massively in Delhi’s staggering 21 crosses throughout the game, the Uruguayan’s composure did the trick for Delhi. He had 71 touches in the game out which he made 56 passes, which reflected his ability to switch things smoothly.