Atletico De Kolkata visit Delhi Dynamos FC today for what will be a nice tête-à-tête. Their aim will be to gain 3 points and in the process secure their bid to be in the upcoming knockout stages.
However, Delhi Dynamos FC will have something strong to say to that. Their last two wins have taken them from the bottom of the table to being in contention for the knockout stages, themselves. However, their position is extremely precarious. They are essentially hanging on by the tip of their fingernails. It’s one of those ‘pakde rehna’ situations. One slip could see their slight chance of being in the semis slip.
Atletico De Kolkata’s Habas the Henchman Makes Surprise Changes
When I looked at the team news, I saw that Habas the Henchman was trying to pull a rabbit out of the metaphoric hat. He removed his preferred left back Nallappan Mohanraj from the first team to include Biswajit Saha.
The move looked to be targeted at Delhi’s Francis Fernandes, whose pace and trickery has confounded a number of defenders in the last 2 games. The big question was will the change take hold and make a difference?
There was another surprise from Atletico De Kolkata as they chose to rest Luis Garcia. They also didn’t have Mohammed Rafi and instead had Baljit Sahni and Ofentse Nato (I still like that name). It was a distinctly defensive move from Habas the Henchman. He removed his playmaker for a defensive midfielder while other changes were like for like. I believe Nato was there to thwart Gustavo Dos Santos just like Saha was there for Francis.
Delhi Dynamos FC also made 3 changes to their starting line-up. They took out Shylo Malswamtluanga, Munmun Lagun, and Naoba Singh and brought in Adil Khan, Shouvik Ghosh, and Souvik Chakraborty. I can’t really tell you the logic behind Delhi’s changes because I don’t know any of these 6 players well. I am learning with you too, you know.
Delhi Dynamos FC Have A Go At Atletico De Kolkata
When the first half began, it was clear that Delhi Dynamos FC were set up to attack while Atletico De Kolkata were set up to defend.
Delhi Dynamos had Francis as their striker while Dos Santos was playing on the left flank as a creative striker.
In the first 10 minutes, Delhi Dynamos FC got a number of freekicks but they couldn’t really do much with them. 7 minutes later, Delhi Dynamos FC created their first clear chance.
A wonderful through ball came from deep in Delhi’s left flank all the way into the box. Mads Junker took the ball and tried to curl it into the far top corner with the outside of his right foot. It was blocked but fell to Chakraborty whose shot was saved by Edel.
Right after this chance, Atletico De Kolkata countered Delhi Dynamos FC and made their own wonderful chance. Unfortunately, Sahni running onto the ball couldn’t control his shot and skewed it wide.
After about half an hour, Atletico De Kolkata managed to peg back Delhi Dynamos FC. They did it by stifling Dos Santos and on the back of long balls into Fikru Teferra Lemessa. However, it was only for a few minutes because Delhi’s play re-imposed itself.
Habas’ Plan To Stifle Delhi Dynamos FC’s Attack Works Wonderfully
The first ten minutes of the second half were all about both midfields. They both attacked and got to the final third but then the opponent’s defence would break whatever they throw at them. This was despite the fact that Harm Van Veldhoven tried to force the issue by bringing on Shylo.
The best chance of the half came from Dos Santos who ran inside from Delhi’s right flank. He came onto his left foot and let fly. It was a good dipping shot that worked Edel to full stretch.
Delhi Dynamos FC depended on Dos Santos for their creativity and he showed that was good for that trust. He almost unlocked Atletico De Kolkata’s defence singlehandedly from the right flank. He had a good give and go with Mulder before cutting the ball back. Unfortunately, a defender ran back and just cleared it.
Atletico De Kolkata Will Be The Happier Of The Two Teams
Atletico De Kolkata almost scored through Borja who didn’t know anything about his try. An in swinging ball came in from a freekick on Kolkata’s left flank and Borja stuck a leg out. The ball went straight to Kristof Van Hout though. A feet to either side and it may have gone in.
Delhi Dynamos FC almost had a goal again around the 80th minute. Dos Santos made a run into the box on the right, Dinis picked him out with a high ball. Dos Santos headed the ball across the goal and just before Junker could apply the finish, the ball was cleared by a defender. That’s twice that this has happened to them in this game.
Atletico De Kolkata had a great chance too to balance out Delhi’s last one. It was a free diving header from Jofre but it was straight at the keeper.
Habas the Henchman would be very happy with his posse for implementing his plan well. A draw is a decent result for Atletico De Kolkata but not exactly for Delhi Dynamos. Delhi’s chances of qualifying are lower but still alive while Kolkata will have to wait to confirm their presence in the next round. Both teams retain their positions for now.