New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) Sehnaj Singh’s superb long range shot ensured a dramatic climax to help hosts Delhi Dynamos force a eventful 3-3 draw against Kerala Blasters in an Indian Super League (ISL) contest here on Thursday.
Blasters were ahead 3-2 till regulation time and fourth victory in 14 group matches seemed set to clinch what would have been only their fourth victory in 14 group matches of a terrible campaign. But Sehnaj’s neatly taken fierce effort ruined what would have been a consolation win for the Blasters. Dynamos improved to 22 points from 13 matches, level with second-placed FC Goa, but stayed at the third spot due to an inferior goal difference.
Blasters’ doomed campaign ended with only 13 points from 14 matches. Dynamos were through to the semi-finals before this match and Blasters were already out of reckoning for the play-offs. With the fate of the two teams already decided, the inconsequence of the tie led to both teams adopting an unstinted offensive approach that led to their defences being exposed.
The first half witnessed five goals with Blasters leading 3-2 at half-time. But it was Dynamos went ahead in an eventful first half in the seventh minute. Frenchman Florent Malouda continued his consistent form with a delicate chip over the static Blasters defence for an opportunistic Gustavo Dos Santos. The Brazilian winger crept in behind the backline and flung his left-foot at the looping ball on its way down.
That started a series of goal-mouth action. Blasters levelled two minutes later but received a huge helping hand in their efforts when defender Anas Edathodika misjudged the bounce of the ball to duck under it while trying to effect a diving headed clearance. But he was only successful in allowing the ball to move unchallenged to a surprised Chris Dagnall.
The unmarked English forward gladly scored. It was not the only mistake the normally reliable Dynamos backline who were proud of conceding the fewest goals in the league prior to this match (14) along with Atletico de Kolkata. Portuguese forward Joao Coimbra utilised Dynamos’ slackness to smartly guide the ball on the top left corner on 30 minutes. Dynamos were probably surprised by their inefficiency and disjointedness and then fell further behind when their decisiveness allowed English forward Antonio German to unleash a strong left footer, from in front of a host of defenders, to make it 3-1 in the 39th.
But the fluctuating contest got another adrenaline rush a minute later when English forward Adil Nabi moved in between the two Blasters central defenders to direct his header, off a Shylo Malsawmtuluanga home. Normalcy returned after the break when both sides concentrated to retain possession. Trailing Dynamos had the greater urge to move forward and the sprightly Dos Santos nearly equalised but his left-footed effort, after pulling ahead of defender Sandesh Jhingan, went agonisingly wide.
Dos Santos fooled Jhingan with sharp turn that forced the Indian defender to grab his shirt in a desperate attempt to stop him. Referee C.R. Srikrishna could have could have ruled a foul against Jhingan just outside the box cautioned him. But he chose to let the game to flow. Dynamos’ persistence paid off in the second minute of added time when Sehnaj Singh’s netted with a strong swerving right footed shot from a fair distance.