Profligate Delhi share honours with Pune in their ISL opener

New Delhi :  Delhi Dynamos were better but wasteful as they paid the price for their profligacy even as Alessandro del Piero’s presence failed to break the deadlock in their barren draw against FC Pune City in the Hero Indian Super League here today.

‘King Alex’ did not start, much to the disappointment of the 30000-odd turnout at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, but the Italian and Juventus legend was introduced in the 37th minute amid the loudest cheers from a fairly packed Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The Dynamos missed chances galore till the final whistle. In the 90th minute, Brazilian Gustavo Dos Santos, coming on as a late substitute, unleashed a left-footer only to see the ball hitting the upright after the goalkeeper was beaten.

Five minutes before that, Hans Mulder received a curled free-kick from Del Piero, but his header sailed over the bar Delhi called the shots in the first half, creating innumerable chances but, at the end of first half, their domination came to naught as the scoreline remained goalless.

Leading the side, Mads Junker had a bad day in office, failing to lead from the front, the number of misses adding to his agony.

The flurry of misses had the crowd frustrated and it needed the arrival of Del Piero to break the ennui in the stands. The huge roar was followed by the Mexican wave and it repeated for a while at the JLN.

Del Piero was on the ball right away, at 39 trying his best to create opportunities.

His enterprise delighted the many heads totting the stands but a goal remained elusive.

After a none-too-impressive outing in the first 45 minutes, Junker had a chance to get his team ahead but he could not clear Emanuele Belardy at the goal after receiving what could have been a decisive through from Shylo ‘Mama’ Malsawmtluanga. Earlier, the Danish also had opportunities in the 11th and 19th minute which he wasted.

Content playing in the deep before the break, Pune made a couple of quick changes bringing in Dudu Omagbemi for Israil Gurung and replacing Greek World Cupper Kostas Katsouranis with Indian midfielder Mehrajudding Wadoo.

Meanwhile, in the 68th minute, Del Piero unleashed a scorcher from 25 yards but his attempt curled a bit more than he would have wanted, missing the target by whisker.

In the first half, Dynamos had the possession and were also far ahead in terms of creating chances.

The Dynamos’ overseas trio of Junker, Morten Skoubo and Hans Mulder and ably assisted by Francis Fernandez on the right flank, did give Pune tense moments but the hosts’ inability to finish saved the visiting side.

Around the 10th minute mark, Delhi had a sniff at goal after the host players make inroads into the box, but nobody was there for the final touch. Just before that, Trezeguet shot straight at the goalkeeper Kristof Van Hout.

While the visitors, who had players such as Trezeguet and Katsouranis, lacked sting and imagination, the hosts were guilty of lacking finishing touches. —PTI

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal