The Islanders ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against a struggling Delhi Dynamos unit at the Mumbai Football Arena. A brace from Everton Santos and goals from Lucian Goian & Balwant Singh helped us move to the 2nd position with 13 points from 8 games.
It was an energetic start from the visitors as they saw most of the possession in the earlier stages of the game. Gerson Vieira had the first real chance of the game as he rose high to head the ball but it went straight into the hands of former Mumbai City FC goalkeeper, Arnab Das Sharma. The Islanders opened up the Delhi Dynamos defence with some sublime passes as Balwant Singh played Everton Santos with a neat through ball & he was bought down by Arnab in the box, the referee didn’t hesitate & pointed to the spot. Achille Emana took the spot kick & sent Arnab to the left but his shot hit the right post of the keeper. Captain Lucian Goian was alert to the situation & slotted the ball to open the scoring for the Islanders.
The game did heat up when Thiago Santos was fouled by Vinit Rai & Emana had his share of words for the Delhi midfielder. The Cameroonian International was involved again, this time playing a smart short pass to Everton Santos who saw his shot blocked by the defender. The visitors had their chance to equalize as Romeo Fernandes latched on & took a shot that hit the side netting. Arindam Bhattacharja was yet to be tested in goal, he was named in the line-up as a replacement for the injured Amrinder Singh.
At the other end, Balwant combined well with Everton Santos to set him free on the left inside the box but the return ball was weak & Arnab collected it with ease. The game opened up as Nandhakumar Sekar saw his shot fizz wide off the post. Both sides missed chances in less than a span of 3 minutes.
Matias Mirabaje came close to an equalizer for Delhi as Ruidas’ clearance fell to him on the edge of the box & his volley struck the post. Brazilian winger, Everton Santos tried his luck from distance as his shot bounced uncomfortably in front of the keeper who made a decent save to deny him. Delhi won a free-kick in a promising position but Matias failed to beat the wall & Delhi were unable to equalize.
The Islanders made them pay for the missed chances as Everton Santos beat his marker & thumped a header home to double the lead as well as the misery on Delhi. It was the perfect delivery from the set-piece by Achille Emana. The visitors had their chances just before the break with 3 shots in quick succession but they didn’t change the scoreline.
There was drama at the stroke of half-time when Sehnaj Singh & Matias Mirabaje were sent off by the referee for their on-field tussle. Both the players had to be separated by the players, the teams were reduced down to 10 men.
Delhi Dynamos had another ideal opportunity to score from a free header in the box but Guyon Fernandez missed to put the ball into an empty net. In the 49th minute, Everton Santos notched his second goal from a Ruidas corner as his header hit the post & bounced over the line. Although, the keeper pushed it out, Thiago Santos was there to finish it off but the goal was awarded to Everton Santos.
With both teams down to 10 men, both teams made a few changes with fresh legs helping the cause. Delhi surely rued their chances to get back into the game, Romeo Fernandes took a shot inside the box from the right but it went just wide off the far post. An hour gone by & the visitors were trailing by three goals. General, Alexandre Guimaraes brought on Marcio Rozario & Sahil Tavora for Thiago Santos & Sanju Pradhan with both of them doing well with their opportunities.
Hitman, Balwant Singh joined the goal-scoring charts in the 79th minute as he made good movement to reach a lovely chip pass from the impressive Emana, he didn’t connect his volley well but it just about went into the net. It was his first goal at home & fifth of this season, he also became the top Indian goal scorer by going past Jeje. Leo Costa made his much awaited return from injury as he replaced Emana who once again shone with two assists to his name.
Arindam was determined to get a clean sheet, he made a fantastic save to keep Romeo’s shot away & not let Delhi get a consolation goal. The final minutes saw the Islanders keep possession of the ball & see off the game & round off a very dominating performance in front of the home crowd. At one end, the misery continued for Delhi Dynamos as they slumped to their 6th consecutive defeat & the Islanders moved to the 2nd spot in the table with a thumping win to end the year on a high.
A tough battle awaits the Islanders on 5th January, 2018 as they make a journey to the East to take on Jamshedpur FC in their own backyard.