Bartholomew Ogbeche and Federico Gallego scored two late goals as NorthEast United extended their unbeaten streak to five matches with the 2-0 defeat of Delhi Dynamos at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Tuesday.
The victory helped NorthEast pip FC Goa into the top of the points table with 11 points from five matches. Delhi on the other is still searching for their first victory and with three draws and three defeats in six matches are eight in the table.
NorthEast started well and could have scored early but Ogbeche’s shot from a Redeem Tlang pass hit the upright. Tlang and the former PSG man were a constant threat on the left flank for the visitors, often exchanging quick passes between themselves. But Delhi defended deep to prevent any goal-scoring opportunity.
The game was stuck in the field for most of the first half with Delhi struggling to create anything substantial, while NorthEast despite more possession of the ball and repeated attacks could not break the deadlock.
Their best opportunity came when Delhi goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro’s clearance was straight at midfielder Mato Grgic, but the Croatian midfielder failed to find the target. Minutes later Delhi had their first opportunity to score from another goalkeeping error.
NorthEast United custodian Pawan Kumar failed to read a back pass and had the ball snatched from his feet by Andrija Kaludjerovic but with an entire goal to hit, the Serbian striker fluffed with his shot.
The second half saw both teams creating very few chances but unlike the opening 45 minutes, Delhi was livelier in the second half and could have taken the lead in the 78th minute when Marti Crespi’s long ball from the back fell perfectly for Kaludjerovic. The forward played a neat one-two before curling the ball towards goal. But his shot was blocked by Grgic, who threw his body to the floor to prevent Delhi from surprisingly taking a lead.
Eventually, NorthEast broke the deadlock five minutes later after the home team failed to clear a dead ball. Lurking nearby, Gallego immediately pounced on it and thundered a shot past Dorronsoro into the net.
Ogbeche then wrapped up the victory for the visitors with a fine finish after Gallego found him with a lovely ball in the Delhi box. With only the goalkeeper to beat, the Nigerian faced no difficulties in scoring his sixth goal of the season.
Image Source: ISL