Bengaluru FC crashed to their third defeat of the season after former Blues’ striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia came off the bench to score two second-half goals as Delhi Dynamos came away 3-2 winners at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in New Delhi, on Sunday. Trailing by a Ulises Davila goal (9’), Carles Cuadrat’s men fought back with goals from Boithang Haokip (20’) and substitute Sunil Chhetri (73’) before Lalhlimpuia made the most of goalkeeping errors from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to fire home a brace (77’, 82’) that included the winner.
However, the Blues, who became the first side this season to seal a play-off berth, continue to lead the table with 31 points, three more than FC Goa who have a game in hand.
Miku had the chance to score what would have been the fastest goal of the season when he was picked out by a cut-back from Udanta Singh on 35 seconds. But the Venezuelan couldn’t hit the ball as cleanly as he would have liked to, scuffing it wide in the process.
Bengaluru would rue the miss when Davila put Delhi into the lead in the 9th minute. Palming away a cross from Nandhakumar, Gurpreet’s effort counted for nothing after the ball fell to Davila who fired home to make it 1-0.
Cuadrat’s men, however, soon found a response and a way back into the game when Haokip chose to mark his first start of the season with a peach of a finish in the 20th minute. With a host of blue shirts in the box, Xisco Hernandez floated a cross that Francisco Dorronsoro pushed away. Haokip adjusted his body well before smashing the ball past the Delhi ’keeper.
Cuadrat’s first change of the game came around the hour mark when he threw in Chhetri for Haokip and the Bengaluru striker scored for the third straight game, poking past Dorronsoro after being put through by Xisco to make it 2-1. The Dynamos defence thought they had held the right line to catch Chhetri off-side, but the Bengaluru man time his run to perfection.
With a little more than fifteen minutes on the clock, Bengaluru looked to have the game in control when two uncharacteristic blunders from Gurpreet handed Delhi the equaliser and then the lead.
Bringing down a cross, Lalhlimpuia fired straight at Sandhu who could only palm the ball into his own net, as Delhi clawed back into the game. Lalhlimpuia would strike once again, this time his shot taking a little off Rahul Bheke before creeping past Sandhu at the near post to make it 3-2 – a lead they would hold on to.
Earlier, Cuadrat started with Haokip for the first time this season, leaving Chhetri on the bench instead. Dimas Delgado, Albert Serran and Udanta Singh – all of who were left out of the game against Chennaiyin FC last week, were handed starts too.
Bengaluru travel back home where they take on FC Goa at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, on Thursday.