Goa Show Delhi the Value of the Final Ball: Delhi Dynamos FC 1 – 5 FC Goa Review

Cutting Edge Proves To Be the Difference

There was only one way that Delhi Dynamos FC was going to win against FC Goa and that was a smash and grab. This meant that Delhi had to score first and then shut up shop. Shutting up shop for them would’ve meant keeping the ball and using possession as a form of defence. But, the moment they went behind, their fate was set. Continue reading


Pune City vs. Delhi Dynamos Preview

Cross Pollination of Players between the Pride and the Stallions

It is refreshing to have a break of three days in between Indian Super League games. The break was well utilised I can assure you with loads of food, drinks and merrymaking. I kid you. My break was full of diapers and baby food. Equally exciting, though, I assure you. Today’s matchup is a very interesting one. There are multiple variables at play between FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos. There is no way in hell that I will be predicting this game. What I will do is try to point out key points. Here we go. Continue reading


Foreign Signings in the ISL Part I – The First 5 Clubs

[Date: 03-9-2017]

So, I will be dividing the review of foreign signings into two posts. There are 10 teams, after all and every one of them has made foreign signings (Yes, even NEUTD FC…).

In this post, I will focus on Amar, Tomar, Kolkata (remember to use sarcasm tone), Kerala Blasters FC, Delhi Dynamos (haha Vogliotti), Mumbai City FC, and Northeast United FC (get someone, FFS).

From the outset, let me say that I like the business done by the previous year’s finalists, ATK and KBFC. They’ve gotten in big names and more importantly, they’ve gotten in some very effective players. The dark horse in this group will be Delhi Dynamos. Even with the Vogliotti faux-glioti fiasco, their objective of playing the South American brand of football interests me. I want to see how it works in India particularly considering our climate. Let’s go then. Continue reading


FC Pune City vs. Delhi Dynamos FC Review: FCPC Stumble; Delhi Dynamos Show Pedigree

FC Pune City vs. Delhi Dynamos FC

This is the game in which FC Pune City would throw down the gauntlet against all the other contenders (read: Atletico Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, and FC Goa) for the top spot in the Indian Super League 2015 table.

For me, two games are not really good enough to judge where a team will end up on a table. Granted; we only have 14 games in an Indian Super League season but I still don’t think two games are enough.

The 3rd game, however, can reveal much. If a team is top of the table after 3 out of 14 games, then you know they have some substance. It’s more than 20% after all. So, this game, for me, would show how good each of these teams are.

Team News for FC Pune City & Delhi Dynamos FC

FC Pune City - Wesley Verhoek

FC Pune City – Wesley Verhoek

Team news for both, FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC was incredibly interesting.

To be honest with you, I didn’t expect to see so many changes.

FC Pune City made some very critical changes in their team from the last game.

They took out Roger Johnson from the centre half position and brought in Diego Colotto and Gouramangi Singh with Dharmaraj Ravanan showing his versatility by playing in right back position. Maithani moved out from defence to midfield, a move that i wasn’t entirely sure of.

Zokora was rested for James Bailey. All three attackers were replaced by David Platt as well with the impressive Israil Gurung, the old Adrian Mutu, and the Costa Rican Yendrick Ruiz being replaced by Jackichand Singh (Yay!), Kalu Uche, and Wesley Verhoek. All the changes from FC Pune City were very daring. At the same time, it did make their bench very strong which boasted of Mutu, Zokora, and Tuncay Sanli!

Delhi Dynamos FC made huge changes as well with the highlight being the return of homeboy Robin Singh for the disappointing Richard Gadze. Apparently Robin Singh flew back straight from the international game so that he could feature in this game. I have to admit that from the first game I didn’t rate Gadze so much and wanted to see Robin Singh. They also replaced Sanjiban Ghosh with Antonio Doblas Santana.

A First Half Where Indians Glittered Along With the Marquee Stars

Delhi Dynamos FC - John Arne Riise

Delhi Dynamos FC – John Arne Riise
Credit: Vipin Pawar / ISL/ SPORTZPICS

Early in the first half, Robin Singh got a shot off from outside the box while Jackichand Singh showed his skills on the wing with a cross and a volley. I like the look of Jackichand Singh. I haven’t seen him before but he looks like a tricky customer.

More importantly, he looks like someone who thinks about the game and his opponent. I think Jackichand Singh is as good as Romeo or vice versa. While Rome is an instinctive dribbler, Jackichand Singh is a thinking winger. Both Jackichand and Romeo have pace to burn along with good dribbling skills and brilliant first touches.

In addition, John Arne Riise was dominating his back line well keeping FC Pune City strikers at bay. Also starring were Gustavo Dos Santos and Florent Malouda.

The First Half Was Very Well Matched and Technical

It was interesting to note that Verhoek was playing in the central position as opposed to Uche. This was an interesting move from David Platt. I was curious to see how it would pan out.

Looking at Uche, he totally reminded me of the Premier League striker Obafemi Martins in his younger years. It’s not that surprising because both are Nigerian and have similar styles of football. Arsenal fans will, of course, remember that guy with some real venom. I won’t talk more of him; Martins not Uche. I’m also an Arsenal fan.

Delhi Dynamos FC Open Scoring

FC Pune City - Robin Singh

Delhi Dynamos FC – Robin Singh Credit: Pal Pillai / ISL/ SPORTZPICS

As is often the case with highly technical games, the opening goal came from a set piece. This was good from Delhi Dynamos FC. They couldn’t penetrate with open play, so they went around the problem. They used a corner to score.

And, who was it who scored? Why, Robin Singh, of course. No, not the one-kneed-pull-at-Sharjah cricketer, but the one-knee-in-air-with-a-header into the goal. This is exactly what Robin Singh did. The corner was taken by Malouda. It was floated onto the back post. Robin Singh had peeled away from his marker which allowed him to nod the ball into the net. FC Pune City 0 – 1 Delhi Dynamos FC

FC Pune City Show Sparks Near the End

In the last 7 minutes of the first half, FC Pune City came alive and really threatened to score the equaliser. There were a series of corners and a good two minute period in which Delhi Dynamos FC didn’t even come out of their box.

The best chance came in the 45th minute but Colotto showed why he is a defender and not a striker. A freekick came in and fell to Colotto at the far post but he could only control it and not get a shot off. Doblas came in and blocked the ball to keep Colotto from striking the ball.

FC Pune City Dominate Second Half with Jackie Chan’s Insane Skills

FC Pune City - Jackichand Singh

Jackichand Singh – The Next Indian Star

The second half began with an FC Pune City change. They needed reinforcements and it was clear that Platt saw it too. He brought on Tuncay Sanli for Verhoek who I felt was not really suited for this game. I’ll explain why I though he wasn’t suited near the end of this article.

Within the first few minutes of the second half Sanli made a difference by making a run that was spotted and met with a pass by Uche. Sanli got a shot off from acute angle but Doblas was equal to it.

The second half was end to end stuff with FC Pune City looking more dangerous on account of Sanli’s runs while Delhi Dynamos FC were looking threatening on the counter and the long ball. All in all, I felt that the quality of football improved from both sides in the second half.

A brilliant chance went begging by when Jackichand Singh dropped a gorgeous ball into the middle of the FC Pune City penalty box. The ball was met by a free header from Uche who could only direct it against Doblas. The header was saved and I bet Roberto Carlos’ heartbeat skipped a beat.

Soon after, FC Pune City brought on even more cavalry in the form of Didier Zokora who came on for Bailey. Zokora’s job was simply to get the ball back for FC Pune City and may be get the odd longshot off.

Delhi Dynamos FC Show Some Spine

Delhi Dynamos FC - Shylo Malsawmtluanga

Delhi Dynamos FC – Shylo Malsawmtluanga

While FC Pune City were dominating most of the second half, Delhi Dynamos FC were stringing together the odd attack. One in particular was brilliant with Dos Santos showing some sublime skills.

Another good attack came through a Riise freekick which was hit so well that it nearly squirmed through Steve Simonsen’s fingers.

Around the 66th minute, Delhi Dynamos FC also brought on Sehnaj Singh for Shylo Malsawmtluanga (Wow! What a name!). The final throw of the dice from FC Pune City was to take off Jackichand for Eugeneson Lyngdoh – one young Indian star for another young Indian star.

Just so you know Jackichand Singh was taken off because he worked his pants off in this game. His fatigue levels must’ve been through the roof.

Lyngdoh Shows Nerves and Skills as Pune Continue Attacking

FC Pune City - Eugeneson Lyngdoh

FC Pune City – Eugeneson Lyngdoh

Lyngdoh’s first two balls into the box were so bad that even his mother won’t tell him that they were ok. He skied one freekick and one free cross.

It was clear that it was a case of the nerves for the youngster. But Lyngdoh turned that around with a subtle bit of skill beating two defenders near the baseline and crossing the ball in.

The mayhem Lyngdoh caused resulted in continued attack. This resulted in a penalty claim in the box and Maithani bowled over.

But, replays showed that it wasn’t a penalty because Maithani simply toppled on his own. The last few minutes of the game were frantic just like the last few minutes of the first half.

However, as many times as FC Pune City would come close, they would never break through… at least not before Delhi Dynamos gave them the knockout punch.

The Two Teams Exchange Goals like Businessmen

Delhi Dynamos FC - Richard Gadze

Delhi Dynamos FC – Richard Gadze

Chasing the game comes with its own pitfalls. FC Pune City saw that first-hand when they were caught out of position and Delhi Dynamos FC doubled their lead through Richard Gadze.

The goal was made by Vinicius who dribbled along the base line and crossed gently to Gadze.

All Gadze had to do with the keeper stranded was tap it in. FC Pune City 0 – 2 Delhi Dynamos FC

FC Pune City kicked off from the goal and took the ball all the way to the other end through Lyngdoh. Lyngdoh dribbled, beat two men, and cross the ball onto the penalty spot. The keeper tried to stop the cross but only looped it up. Uche was running in and nodded it home. FC Pune City 1 – 2 Delhi Dynamos FC

Tactical Analysis: First Impressions + Projections

The game was won on the back of a set piece. You can’t say much about that. Not a lot of tactics involved in a winner like that. It’s just one player switching off and another player pulling one over his opponent. It was well done by Robin Singh. His debut goal helped his team win the game and Kudos to the man for that. What can I say, I like his never say die attitude.

If you insist on pushing me to analyse the tactics of this game then all I have to say to you is that FC Pune City’s starting strategy was flawed. I think Platt tried to be too smart for his own good with the surprise selection of Verhoek in the centre forward position while Uche played as a wide second striker.

It nullified Uche in my opinion, even though it played to Verhoek’s strengths. I think it should’ve been the other way round with Uche being given the preference. Another tactical limitation of FC Pune City was that they wasted virtually every single corner.

Their corners would just never clear the first line of defence. They would unerringly hit the first man time and time again. It was evident that they haven’t been practicing defending freekicks or attacking freekicks much. What a pity because I like their brand of possession football.

Delhi Dynamos FC showed excellent attacking and defending skills in the game. They even managed the fame wonderfully, grabbing a goal in the end. Delhi Dynamos are defying my doom and gloom prediction. I hope they continue because their success heartens me and ensures that I remain humble because being right too often is just a bit too cheeky, eh?


FC Goa vs. Delhi Dynamos FC Review

FC Goa vs. Delhi Dynamos FC

Goa Throw down The Gauntlet; Delhi Show Improvement

Yesterday’s match was epic in its unique way. It was a good kick-off for the Indian Super League 2015 season. Now, let’s hope that FC Goa turn on the magic unlike last year when they struggled early on in the league. Those of you who’ve followed this blog before would know that I have a soft spot for FC Goa.

Effectively, while my analysis of this match will be neutral as always, you will see little hints of where my heart lies. On the other hand, I am a Delhi lad so I don’t really know where my loyalties should lie. I think I’ll go with the team that plays good football, regardless of whether that team wins or not. I predict good football and a win for FC Goa.

Team News for FC Goa & Delhi Dynamos FC

FC Goa - LucioTeam news surprised me a little but that’s probably because I don’t know all the players as well as I should. I expected Narayan Das in the starting line-up but Zico went with Keenan Almeida. I thought Zico would go for Daryl Duffy but he went for Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliveira.

Rest of the FC Goa starting line-up was as I thought it would be. There were surprises for me in Delhi Dynamos FC’s team too. First and foremost, I wanted to see Adil Nabi but Roberto Carlos went with Richard Gadze.

There wasn’t even Robin Singh in the starting line-up because of his international duties. Seeing Gadze being picked over Nabi and Singh, I immediately felt that it was a mistake from the Brazilian legend. I thought John Arne Riise would play in the central defensive position and I was right.

From the starting line-ups, it was evident that FC Goa was going for a possession based strategy while Delhi Dynamos FC were thinking defence first. FC Goa had had a five man midfield set up while Delhi Dynamos FC chose a five man defence. This was going the big mistake in my eyes because FC Goa won the game in midfield.

The First Half Kicks Off With FC Goa

FC Goa - Mandar Rao DesaiFC Goa started the game brightly keeping the ball well and showing good sharpness. Delhi Dynamos FC were pegged back and it took FC Goa only 3 minutes to break through their defence.

The man responsible for the damage was, don’t give you dare give me that astonished expression, Romeo. The ball came lofted down the right flank; Romeo took it on his chest with a brilliant first touch. His next touch saw him beat the last man.

He reached the touchline, faked a cross to see the defender pass him by, and picked out a wonderful cut back onto the penalty sport. Mandar Rao Desai was running in from the left flank. He got ahead of his marker and dinked the ball over the Delhi keeper, Sanjiban Ghosh. FC Goa 1 – 0 Delhi Dynamos FC.

My dear gentlemen, this was a breath-taking goal with brilliant play from the men in blue. Take a bow Romeo, there; be many Juliettes after that bit of skill.

Delhi Dynamos FC were looking very ragged. They were trying a counterattacking game but FC Goa were pressing very well. There were lots of long balls from Delhi but they would never get through Lucio and Gregory Arnolin with those kinds of balls. This was FC Goa of last season folks.

There was one thing though. Delhi Dynamos FC weren’t looking as woeful as their 2014 avatars.

Delhi Dynamos FC Fight Back

Delhi Dynamos FC - Florent MaloudaIn the 11th minute, Delhi Dynamos FC used their luck when a long shot came in from FC Goa’s midfield.

The Delhi keeper parried the ball straight to an unmarked Romeo who could only connect with air. The ball still bobbled to Lucas Moura who hit the ball hard first time.

Delhi Dynamos FC pegged FC Goa straight back with a counterattack. Hans Mulder reached the right flank by-line and managed to cross the ball in. The ball trickled across the FC Goa goalmouth. A minute later, Richard Gadze got free of the Goa defence and went up one on one with Elinton Sanchotene Andrade. He tried to dink the ball but the keeper stayed big to block it.

After the first 10 or so minutes were gone, Florent Malouda announced himself with a mazy dribble and a smart cutback. He would go on to show more skill from different places on the pitch but Delhi couldn’t convert the chances. Another Delhi player who started shining along with Malouda was Vinicius Ferreira de Souza. The man reminded me of how Romeo appeared out of nowhere last year.

FC Goa Double Their Lead through Reinaldo

FC Goa - ReinaldoAfter the 20th minute, the game settled down a little with FC Goa sitting back to wait for a counterattack and Delhi Dynamos FC finding it difficult to go through their defence.

There was a lot of scrappiness as well. However, just before the half time whistle, Delhi Dynamos FC’s worst nightmares came alive like Goosebumps.

They gave away a silly foul on the edge of their box on the right flank to Joffre.

The resulting freekick was taken by Jofre low and hard and finished by Reinaldo with his knee. So, goals through open play and a freekick for FC Goa. FC Goa 2 – 0 Delhi Dynamos FC.

Players That Were Visible For Right and Wrong Reasons

FC Goa - Keenan AlmeidaBoth Malouda and Vinicius were wreaking havoc on FC Goa’s right flank where the new boy Almeida was deployed.

He looked quite overawed by the occasion. I still think Debabrata Roy would’ve done better on the right with Narayan Das coming into the left back position.

Almeida was looking all over the place, committing fouls, dropping balls while taking throw-ins.

Throughout the rest of the first half, Delhi huffed and puffed but they could neither get the right shot nor the right pass. Part of the reason was Denson Devadas who started sticking to Malouda like a leach in heat.

He did a brilliant job screening Malouda and the FC Goa back four. Another Goa player that stood out was Lucas Moura who showed some great vision along with passing and dribbling skills

Roberto Carlos Takes Matter into His Own Hands in the Second Half

Delhi Dynamos FC - Roberto CarlosThe second half began with Roberto Carlos and Gustavo Dos Santos coming into the fray for Mulder and Vinicius. Carlos took up the central midfield position from Mulder while Dos Santos took up his position on the wings. The change didn’t have much of an impact because Delhi Dynamos FC still looked toothless while FC Goa continued to create chances on the counter.

There was a goalmouth scramble preceded by a gorgeous Riise run and two post hits. Riise ran the ball forward and then struck a left footed curler onto the far post. The ball went to the far wing from where a cross came onto the head of Malouda. Malouda headed it onto the post as well.

A Battling Second Half with Some Chances

Delhi Dynamos FC - Adil NabiThe second half continued dully till the 70th minute after which it picked up in entertainment.

Around this time Delhi also gave us our first look at Adil Nabi. His first touch was skilful with a cool pass at the end of his skills.

On the other end, Sanijban Ghosh played out of his skin and smothered the ball at the feet of Desai when a goal should’ve been the most likely outcome. The rest of the second half played out the way the whole match went with Delhi trying to get behind Goa defence and Goa counterattacking.

Tactical Analysis:  First Impressions + Projections

FC Goa - ZicoIt rained before this match. The climate plays a crucial role in how a game plays out. Rains usually make the field quicker where the ball skids off the moisture on the grass. That wasn’t the case here because the ball was holding up instead. That only happens when the drainage system of the field isn’t up to the mark.

The point is that the ball was holding up on the pitch. Romeo used that very well in the first goal when he poked the ball beyond a diving Riise. While Romeo is a wonderful player, he isn’t so good as to adjust his game so quickly to the pitch. He could cope with the changed nature of the pitch because it was his home ground.

In terms of how the teams played, I think Delhi Dynamos FC played as individuals while FC Goa played as a well drilled team. There was more cohesion in how the Goans were playing while Delhi looked more cobbled together.

FC Goa’s strategy was simply to use the pace of their wingers against Delhi’s wingbacks. For me, Delhi Dynamos FC made the same mistake that Chennaiyin FC made yesterday. They didn’t have wingers because they chose to go with a five man defence. Atletico De Kolkata took advantage of that yesterday and FC Goa did the same today. The game was won in the midfield and specifically on the wings.

FC Goa took the lead in the 3rd minute. After that, they decided to sit back and counterattack by using the speed of their wingers. The whole game played out like this with FC Goa’s strategy paying dividends with their second goal.

In essence, Zico’s experience as a manager overshadowed Roberto Carlos’s strategy.