Gustavo Dos Santos struck a late winner as Delhi Dynamos FC beat NorthEast United FC with a 2-1 victory which helped the visiting side qualify for the semi-finals of the Hero Indian Super League in Guwahati on Saturday.
Robin Singh gave Delhi Dynamos the lead in the 30th minute only for Seityasen Singh to tie the match seven minutes later. It looked like both teams would settle for a draw until Dos Santos scored the winner in the 88th minute.
With the win, Delhi Dynamos have moved to the second spot on the ISL table with 21 points from 13 matches, behind Atletico de Kolkata, the other team who have already qualified for the play-offs.
NorthEast United are placed fourth with 17 points and even a win now in their next match against FC Pune City may not be enough to qualify.
Both teams fought for the win, with Delhi knowing they are just a step away from qualifying, while host NorthEast were aware they need wins in both their remaining games. NorthEast lead the attack index for most of the time into the game, not leaving too many spaces behind making it difficult for Delhi Dynamos to penetrate.
Delhi Dynamos, though, were not to be denied their opening goal in the 30th minute. Goalkeeper TP Rehenesh made a weak punch of a Florent Malouda free-kick with the ball flying outside the box. It was headed back towards goal where NorthEast United defenders were caught napping and allowed Robin Singh to score the opening goal from close range.
Robin could have pretty much killed the game in the 37th minute when he was played through by Vinicius but the India striker could not keep his cool in a one-on-one situation and instead ended up shooting straight into the onrushing goalkeeper.
That miss proved costly for Delhi Dynamos as NorthEast United secured their equalizer in a counter-attacking move just 25 seconds later. This goal was a result of a defensive lapse where Ralte Adinga mistimed his clearance and the ball fell nicely for Seityasen. The striker took a couple of steps, made space for himself and then beat Delhi goalkeeper Toni Doblas with a low drive.
In the second session, NorthEast could have taken the lead in the 60th minute when a long clearance found Seityasen through on goal but Sehnaj Singh did well to close him down with Seityasen taking aim at goal.
Just when it seemed like Delhi Dynamos and NorthEast would have to count on their last round match to qualify for the play-offs, Gustavo came up with a gem. The Brazilian had earlier tested Rehenesh from a distance but in the 88th minute he did well to beat Rehenesh with a low long range attempt.
Delhi Dynamos play FC Goa in their last match at home on December 6 while NorthEast United will complete their league engagements with a clash against FC Pune City on December 2.
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