ISL 2016: Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos, The Race To Finals

Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos was the last match before ISL 2016 finals and the game surely rocked the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi. Kerala Blasters had the aggregate of 1-0, coming into the semifinals. Speculation can be tiring exercise but Delhi Dynamos were expected to play the game of their lifetime as they entered with a deficit.

Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos
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Here is the match summary

Delhi Dynamos had a good reason to unleash an attack which made them one of the most fierce teams in ISL 2016 and that is what they did. Hosts were on the front from the start of the game as Kerala Blasters were finding it hard to take possession of the round beauty. For the first 20 minutes, neither team was able to produce an opportunity and it seemed that the crowd would again see a rather cold game as that of Mumbai City and Atletico de Kolkata.

However, the crowd was in for a treat as in the very next minute when Marcos Tebar sent the ball right into Kerala’s box. Despite no Delhi attacker posing an imminent danger, Nandy came out in no man’s land when Kadio was doing great with the ball. Marcelinho, without wasting any time took control of Kadio’s half cleared pass and leveled the aggregate score.

The game burst into life after this goal and Kerala Blasters took only three minutes to score an equalizer. Duckens Nazon put his sheer brilliance on the show when he picked the ball from the middle and past through a clueless Delhi defense before shoving the ball into Doblas’ net. Just like that, Kerala was back on the aggregate lead.

Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos
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Delhi Dynamos had a couple of half-chances on their way to get back in the game with the likes of Richard Gadze and Kean Lewis teasing Kerala’s defense in the box. However, the scoresheet accelerated in the 7th minute of the injury time when Tebar attempted a free-kick into a packed Kerala box and the ball traveled into the goalpost amid all the pushes and shoves.

The referee whistled for half-time with the score sheet depicting 2-1 in Delhi’s favor and a leveled aggregate score.

The second half saw both the teams coming heart-achingly close to scoring a goal but defensive strategies and missed shot prevailed throughout the 45 minutes of second half. The aggregate score being 2-2 between Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos, the game was forced into a 30 min extra time and trust me, both the teams played their best game of ISL 2016 in that half an hour.

The likes of Marcelinho, Gadze, Malouda and Doblas from Delhi Dynamos and Rafi, Kadio, Hengbart and Vineeth from Kerala Blasters left to stone unturned to take their respective teams to ISL 2016 finals. However, the scoresheet was in no mood to accept the prayer and then came the SHOOTOUT!

Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos
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Penalty shootouts are one of the most dreaded moments for a player as a miss from a strictly or a failed defense from a goalie decides the future of the team and after playing for a piercing 120 mins, the shootout was the last thing that either of the team needed.

However, this is where the tables turn or rather Kerala Blasters put all the tables to flames.

Josu Currais successfully scored the first penalty for Kerala, while Malouda failed to equalize it for Delhi Dynamos.

German (Kerala) and Bruno Pelissari (Delhi) missed the second penalty and Kerala Blasters maintained their lead of 1-0.

Belfort then made it 2-0 for Kerala Blasters and Nandy saved Memo’s shot to keep it that way.

Kerala Blasters vs Delhi Dynamos
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Rafique then stepped up to convert his spot-kick into a goal, setting a date between Kerala Blasters and Atletico de Kolkata in ISL 2016 finals.

Delhi Dynamos and Kerala Blasters entertained us to the utmost level in this semifinal and nobody can take it away from the hosts, despite Kerala Blasters emerging as the better team.

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15 December 2016
Rohan Jaitly

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