Delhi Dynamos Football Club continued their impressive run of form as they made a stunning comeback, thanks to their skipper Florent Malouda to pull off a thrilling 2-2 draw against the Swedish top-tier football club BK Häcken at the Bravida Arena here on Thursday.
Delhi Dynamos FC playing against BK Häcken for the second time in as many years, were chasing the match for the majority of the duration. At one point it looked like, the Lions will crash to their second defeat against the Swedish side, but a brace by Malouda saw them restore parity twice much to the delight of their head coach Gianluca Zambrotta, assuring a promising future for North India’s only Hero ISL club back home this year.
The hosts started off well and took the attack right to Delhi Dynamos FC from the onset and drew the first blood in the match through Alhassan Kamara, who scored as early as three minutes into the match. Dynamos regrouped immediately and almost snatched the equalizer in the fifth minute with Kean Lewis hitting a stinging shot, but unfortunately it landed wide.
After the early shock, the Delhi Dynamos FC squad started to grow into the game, with their players linking up well and creating difficulties for their opponent. They came real close to scoring again in the 18th minute when Milan Singh attempted to score from a distance. He got into a great position and fired in a long ranger, which missed the target by a mean margin. With the Lions in firm control of the proceeding, Häcken conjured up a counterattack much against the run of play and nearly scored their second goal of the night in the 25th minute, but it was Toni Doblas’ fine save that averted the danger.
With time running out in the first half, Delhi Dynamos FC were frantically pressing for an equalizer. They had another try at the goal in the 40th minute when David Addy’s shot on target was saved by the Gettiranga goalkeeper, who made a superb full stretch dive to keep his team’ lead intact. Just ahead of the half time whistle, the Lions had one more attempt at the goal, but as has been the story for the evening, luck deserted them again and Lewis’ shot landed just wide off the target.
With the half time whistle blown, teams walked into the tunnel with a scoreline of 1-0 in favour of the hosts, but even though the away side was down in the match, they were clearly the better team on the pitch and were unfortunate to have not scored a goal after having come so close on multiple occasions.
At the change of ends, as when the Lions were settling into the game, the Black and Yellow’s seized the opportunity and took the lead for the second time in the match through John Owoeri in the 55th minute. With the scoreline reading 2-0 it brought back memories of last year, and it looked like the Lions were on course of a second successive defeat at the Bravida, but the setback did not peg down the away side, and they shifted to damage control mode and were awarded a penalty in the 59th minute, when a rushing Malouda was fouled in the box. With sight set firmly on the target, the Frenchmen stepped up to take the spot kick and he buried the ball at the back of the nets with a vicious left footer, which saw the keeper dive the other way.
With more than half an hour left for the final whistle to be blown, it was payback time for Delhi Dynamos FC They kept making nippy runs through the midfield, and launched an array of scathing attacks on the home side. Brazilian Emerson Gomes, the new signing for Delhi Dynamos FC who made his debut for the club in the match, showed what the fans could expect from him in the season. He was controlling the game beautifully from the deep lying midfield position and had almost scored a goal on his first outing, when he drilled in a powerful shot from 35 yards, only for it to go over the bar.
With time running out for the Lions, Malouda took affairs in his own hands and came up with couple of goal-scoring opportunities, only to be denied on both occasions. But as luck would have it, his perseverance finally paid off as he scored his second of the match when he rose the highest to head a cross from Amoes Do to send the ball crashing at the back of the nets. With not much time left, both the teams made desperate attempts at sneaking in another goal, but it proved futile as the teams settled for a well-fought draw.
(Delhi Dynamos FC Press Release)