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Delhi revive top-four hopes

GUWAHATI: Delhi Dynamos revived their hopes of a place in the top-four by beating NorthEast United 2-1 in a vital tenth round clash of the Indian Super League on Monday night.

Gustavo Dos Santos and Hans Mulder scored two early goals for the visitors while Kondwani Mtonga pulled one back late for the home side at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati. The win takes Delhi to 10 points and seventh on the table and condemns NorthEast United, also on 10, to the bottom, based on lesser number of goals scored with the goal difference being the same (-2).

Delhi were on the front foot in the 6th minute itself when Francis Fernandes played the ball to Dos Santos who passed two players before dispatching a thunderous left-footed strike onto the bottom of the crossbar and into the net. The Dynamos kept the momentum with Dos Santos looking dangerous every time he got the ball. But just five minutes later a terrible back pass by defender Henrique Dinis to his goalkeeper left Koke in a one-on-one position with Kristoff Van Hout.  The Spaniard rounded the Delhi gloveman but could not squeeze the ball in and it went out after striking the near post.

In the 14th minute Delhi doubled their lead. A loose ball at the back fell to Dos Santos who lifted it to Mulder. The visiting captain controlled beautifully before turning his marker for dead and shooting past Rehenesh TP into the far corner. Delhi were certainly the more attacking side for the remainder of the first half, but were reduced to ten men in the dying minutes. Souvik Chakraborty was shown a second yellow for a rather soft foul and Delhi were forced to play the second half with a man down.

The home team took full advantage of their numerical superiority and began attacking the Delhi citadel. They finally got their breakthrough in the 80th minute from a corner whipped in by Koke which was headed in by Mtonga for his second goal of the tournament. With ten minutes to go, it was really end to end football with both teams getting into great goal scoring positions. Koke fluffed a couple of chances whereas Delhi could have buried the game with a late goal themselves. The Highlanders’ Aiborlang Khongjee too was shown a second yellow late in the game to even out things.

Delhi Dynamos host Mumbai City FC on November 28 as they look to get their campaign back on track while NorthEast United have a tough outing against league leaders Chennaiyin FC at home.

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