Free Press Journal

Near-empty stadium greets Dynamos in first ISL home match



New Delhi: Irrespective of the outcome of the match, Delhi Dynamos received a jolt even before the completion of their 2015 Indian Super League’s first home match as they were greeted by a near-empty Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium against Chennaiyin FC here on Thursday.

Notwithstanding the franchise’s promotional blitzkrieg and the presence of three marquee players in the team assembled after splashing huge amounts of money, it was not enough to lure Delhites into the stadium to exercise their lung-power for the team. Dynamos began their ISL campaign on a wrong note, losing away to FC Goa and hoped for the locals to be at their passionate best against Chennaiyin.

Dynamos’ marquee player-coach, Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos, identifying the need for passionate fans to be the home team’s 12th man, earnestly appealed the locals to pack the ground in large numbers, in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

But when the match kicked off, the 60,000 stadium was sparsely filled, a sight which should not please the former Real Madrid star. The entire upper tier of the stadium was empty, and only the middle tier seats were partially occupied.

Last year, the home matches in Delhi saw enthusiastic crowds turn up in large numbers in the initial stages of the competition, but deserted the team once results went downhill. Considering it is the first home match of the tournament, the poor response of the Delhi crowd so early in the competition, would pose as a new headache for Delhi Dynamos.