Pritam Kotal’s equaliser wasn’t enough for Delhi Dynamos as ATK sneaked away with a 1-2 victory at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Balwant Singh had handed the visitors the lead in the first half but Kotal’s second half header meant Dynamos played out a second draw in as many matches.
Dynamos Head Coach Josep Gombau was forced into three changes from the side that started against Pune as midfielders Marcos Tebar and Bikramjit Singh along with defender Gianni Zuiverloon were all dropped from the squad following injuries. Spaniard Marti Crespi along with Vinit Rai and Shubham Sarangi made their way into the playing XI.
The visitors meanwhile opted to start Komal Thatal, Ricky and Kalu Uche in a much-changed line-up from the one that lost to NorthEast United a couple of weeks back.
It was a lively start to the game as both teams started in ascendancy. The visitors carved out the best opening of the game in the early exchanges as Uche eased past Rana Gharami to put in a low shot, but his effort was well saved by Dorronsoro.
ATK’s persistence paid off midway into the first half when Manuel Lanzarote found Balwant unmarked in the Dynamos box. The forward took advantage and curled one-in past Dorronsoro to score ATK’s first goal of the season.
Dynamos created chances of their own with Sarangi and Chhangte in the thick of things but they rarely troubled Arindam in the ATK goal.
The hosts though came out flying in the second half and were instantly rewarded. Rene Mihelic’s corner was nodded towards the goal by Nandhakumar and it found the free header of Pritam who scored the equaliser and his second Delhi Dynamos goal.
The hosts had a glorious chance to take the lead but Crespi’s effort from close range was blocked by Arindam. The follow-up by Nandha sailed over the crossbar.
Things however changed for the visitors when Steve Coppell brought in midfielder Noussair El Maimouni in the 82nd minute. Coming in place of Kalu Uche, the super sub took just two minutes on the pitch to give visitors the lead.
Towards the dying moments of the game, Delhi created a host of chances, but none of them materialised into a goal and Josep Gombau’s man succumbed to their first loss of the season.