Dynamos hold on for narrow first leg victory

Delhi Dynamos played their heart out and signed off in glorious style with a 1-0 win over FC Goa in the first leg of the semi-finals of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

Robin Singh (9) of the Delhi Dynamos scored the only goal of the game.   -  PTI

Delhi Dynamos played their heart out and signed off in glorious style with a 1-0 win over FC Goa in the first leg of the semi-finals of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

A header by local and rising star Robin Singh in the 42nd minute proved the decider in this robustly contested match where Dynamos were clearly the superior side. They defended stoutly and brought a stirring dash up front as FC Goa felt the pressure and tremors right through. The teams meet at Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday for the second leg.

Dos Santos was in electrifying touch and led the Dynamos charge in front of 20,000-odd spectators. A deft run into the Goa box late in the second half took the game a notch higher. The pace that he worked and the ease with which he opened up gaps in the rival ranks was just the fare the spectators relished in the farewell contest of the current edition at this venue.

Dos Santos was a busy man, shaking off his marker and finding his unguarded mate in open spaces created by canny shuffling of positions. Chicao and Riise worked craftily in the midfield even as Malouda preserved himself for counters.

It was a counter that nearly hit Goa hard when Dos Santos broke in and the ball rolled to an onrushing Malouda. The hurried shot was wide but the Dynamos drew confidence early in the match. Sabeeth made a mess of a header for Goa from a sensational cross into the goalmouth by Joffre.

The Dynamos brought in Doblas, Chicao, Anas, Dos Santos, Mama and Sehnaj for this contest even as Goa drafted in Kattimani, Raju, Narayan, Arnolin, Moura and Sabeeth.

The Dynamos believed in building their moves with some intricate play in the midfield before a sudden breakaway. Goa were unperturbed, looking to slow down the pace, breaking the moves outside the box. The packed Goa defence, with the towering Lucio manning efficiently, left little space to the Dynamos to get a clear view until Robin, challenged by the burly Brazilian, rose to win the aerial duel and knock in the ball, bouncing off the turf, in the 42nd minute. Santos had done the hard work and Chicao curled the floater that did the damage.

For Dynamos, it was sweet comeback from the 3-2 defeat against FC Goa in the concluding match of the league here last Sunday. This was a different game though. It gave Dynamos the psychological advantage ahead of their next meeting in Goa.

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