New Delhi: Delhi Dynamos missed the chance of going top of the league table after they were held by the bottom-placed side Kerala Blasters in a breathless Indian Super League (ISL) clash on Thursday here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Delhi scored in the dying moments to get a point as the match finished 3-3. The game saw five goals being scored in the first half but only one in the second, which came in the 93rd minute.
Brazilian Dos Santos opened the scoring for the home team but the goals from Chris Dagnall, Joao Coimbra and Antonio German made it 3-1 in favour of the Blasters. Adil Nabi scored the second goal for Delhi to make the things interesting and then in the dying moments of the game Delhi equalised, thanks to a strike from Sehnaj Singh.
With this draw, Kerala finish their campaign last on the points table. On the other hand Delhi, who have already qualified for the semis, stay third on the table but still have a match in hand.
With the play-offs spot already secured, Roberto Carlos decided to give some of his fringe players game time as Delhi made six changes in total with goalkeeper Subashish Roy getting a start. Serginho Greene, Mama, Dos Santos, Adil Nabi and John Arne Riise also came in.
On the other hand, Terry Phelan also rung in the changes, as many as seven. Cavin Lobo, Joao Coimbra, Ishfaq Ahmed, Mehtab Hossain, Rodrigo Arroz, Bruno Perone and Sandip made the starting XI.
Delhi got the match underway in an electric fashion as Dos Santos struck in the seventh minute to give the home team an early lead thanks to a perfect Malouda chip over the defence which the Brazilian finished with first touch. But Delhi's lead didn't last too long as the away team struck in the ninth minute thanks to some sloppy defending by Anas Edathodika, and Dagnall was quick to capitalise on the mistake and level things up for Kerala.
Just after the equaliser, Kerala looked more confident while attacking and created opportunities but Delhi's defence was rock solid. Cavin Lobo had the chance to put Blasters ahead in the 16th minute but his shot from outside the box was well blocked by Anas as the ball went out for a corner. From the resulting kick, Kerala had another decent opportunity to go in front but Bruno Perone failed to keep his header on target.
Kerala kept on pressing forward and soon were rewarded with a goal in the 30th minute after brilliant shot by Coimbra. He curled one into the top corner with a left foot to give the away team a deserving lead. Kerala were in no mood to relax and soon got the third one when Antonio German smashed one in the back of net in the 39th minute to make it 3-1 for Kerala.
But Delhi replied back in style seconds later to make it 2-3. Shylo Malswamtulunga played a great ball over the top of Kerala's defence for Nabi who headed into the far corner to pull one back for the home side. Kerala went into the half time leading 2-3.
The second half started in same fashion as the first with Delhi coming close in the 48th minute to equalise things but Sergimho Greene header from Adil Nabi's free-kick went just wide of the goal. The home team kept on pressing and had majority of possession in the first fifteen minutes after the break but the final ball and some wayward shooting let them down.
On the other hand Kerala were playing on the counter and had some decent chances of their own to extend the lead in the midway of the second half but some resolute defending by Delhi defenders denied them the opportunity. Kerala Blasters then won three corners in a row but failed to capitalise on that as well.
Home team then had a golden chance to level things up when Dos Santos was one on one with the keeper but his cheeky chip over the keeper went agonisingly wide of goal. Nabi then had another opportunity to make it 3-3 in the 85th minute but his shot was well saved by the Kerala goalie.
Then came the moment of the match when Sehnaj Singh kept his nerve in the dying moments of the game to slot the ball past Kerala goalie and make it 3-3 for Delhi.