Another Delhi Dynamos FC substitute came off the bench to equalise and salvage a point in their home tie against Atletico de Kolkata.
This time it was Richard Gadze who scored in the 60th minute to cancel out Iain Hume’s 27th-minute strike for Kolkata, sending Delhi to the top of the Indian Super League table, where they joined Goa with 15 points (Pune City are also there, but have played one more game).
The draw keeps Kolkata in the top half of the table, but neither team was playing for a point in an open, attacking contest that could have gone either way.
A cross from their Kolkata left-back Rino Anto set off panic in Delhi goalkeeper Antonio Doblas, who miscalculated the ball and made a desperate lunge, scuffing the clearance. The ball fell to Hume, who showed great prowess to send a crunching left-footed shot into the top left corner.
Kolkata was the better team in the first half, attacking more often and controlling the midfield better than Delhi. They had come into this game without a single clean sheet and that unenviable record continued as Delhi attacked with greater energy in the second half.
The response came after Delhi manager Roberto Carlos substituted Gustavo dos Santos for Gadze. Dos Santos, scorer of the late goal that won Delhi their last encounter with Kolkata at the Salt Lake Stadium, was ineffective on the right wing tonight. Gadze however, looked more intent from the word go.
In the 60th minute, Delhi forward Robin Singh did well to turn a defender and play the ball to Florent Malouda, who found Gadze inside the box with the kind of pass Delhi have come to expect from him. Gadze showed strength in holding off his marker, turning around, and sending a thumping left-footed drive into the top left corner.
The second half clearly belonged to Delhi — Carlos’s substitutions were all attacking, taking off midfielder Hans Mulder for forward Adil Nabi being another example of his approach.