Zambrotta makes his ISL bow with convincing 3-1 win

Gianluca Zambrotta made a dream start to life in the Indian Super League as his Delhi Dynamos side beat defending champion Chennaiyin FC 3-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here.

Brazilian Marcelinho scored a first half brace to help Delhi Dynamos to an easy win over Chennaiyin FC.   -  Special Arrangement

Gianluca Zambrotta made a dream start to life in the Indian Super League as his Delhi Dynamos side beat defending champion Chennaiyin FC 3-1 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium here.

A first-half brace from Brazilian Marcelinho and a late goal by Senegalese substitute Badara Badji gave the visitor a deserved win over a strangely subdued Chennai side.

Coach Marco Materazzi did not make any changes to the side that drew with Atletico de Kolkata in its first game and opted for an orthodox 4-4-2 with Jayesh Rane and Baljit Sahni playing as wingers.

Zambrotta went with a 4-3-3 with last season's top scorer Richard Gadze flanked by the exciting Kean Lewis and Marcelinho.

The host wasted no time in getting forward as Baljit Sahni drew the first save of the match from Delhi keeper Doblas as early as the second minute. Five minutes later, left-back and local boy Nallappan Mohanraj made a foray down the flank and picked out Dudu with his cross but the Nigerian headed over the bar.

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Delhi slowly found its way back into the match as the extra man in midfield helped it dominate that area of the pitch. The Brazilian Memo was pulling the strings with former Real Madrid man Marcos Tebar sitting behind him in a holding role.

Kean Lewis was full of trickery as he picked up the ball on the left, cutting inside and forcing Kerr to parry. The follow-up was met by Gadze but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Gadze caused the Chennaiyin defenders a lot of problems with his pace and he linked well Marcelinho, who dribbled past two players but shot straight into Chennaiyin goalkeeper Duwayne Kerr's arms.

But Delhi broke the deadlock in the 25th minute when midfielder Milan Singh was brought down in the penalty area by Kerr after latching onto a ball over the top. Marcelinho converted the penalty to score the first goal of Gianluca Zambrotta's reign.

But the lead did not last long as Materazzi's men came roaring back in the 32nd minute. Last season's top Indian goalscorer Jeje Lalpekhlua found his strike partner Dudu with a neat through ball and the Nigerian slotted it past the keeper to level the scores.

But before the defending champion could bat an eyelid, the visitor struck again. Gadze's defence splitting pass found Marcelinho who found the back of the net for his second goal of the game.

Delhi could have had two more before the break but some wasteful finishing let it down.

The second half was a comparatively quieter affair as Chennaiyin, chasing the game, was not able to find any fluency. Delhi, egged on by an animated Zambrotta on the touchline, kept things simple and looked to hit the host on the break.

Around the hour mark, Delhi keeper Doblas came and flapped at a free-kick but Dudu, who wasn't expecting the ball, could not keep his header down.

Materazzi tried to get his team moving by bringing on Italian striker Davide Succi in place of Raphael Augusto but he was pretty ineffective and was caught offside way too many times.

Six minutes from time, substitute Badara Badji made sure of the three points when he headed home Kean's cross sending the Delhi dugout into delirium.

Dudu had the chance to give the host some hope but his cut-back only found a Delhi player.

The result leaves Chennaiyin FC in fifth with Delhi Dynamos taking up third spot behind Atletico de Kolkata and leader NorthEast United FC.

Result: Chennaiyin FC 1 (Dudu) lost to Delhi Dynamos 3 (Marcelinho 2, Badji)