KOCHI: Delhi Dynamos FC’s Ghanaian striker Richard Gadze silenced the 62,000-plus home crowd at Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kochi as he scored the only goal in the 87th minute to down Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League on Sunday.
The 21-year-old forward got at the end of a delightful cross from former Chelsea midfielder Florent Malouda to score the winner and celebrated it by shushing the partisan Blasters support. The hosts could have found a late equaliser, but Vineeth CK’s powerful hit from inside the area was fisted away by Dynamos’ Spanish goalkeeper Antonio Doblas.
Blasters’ marquee signing Carlos Marchena, though only fit to play 45-60 minutes according to his manager Peter Taylor, played from the start as one of the holding midfielders while Sandesh Jhingan and Cavin Lobo returned from international duty to make the starting 11 for the home side.
Dynamos player-manager Roberto Carlos, meanwhile, dropped Shylo Malswamtluanga to bring in Francis Fernandes on the right side of the midfield. But it was his international teammate Robin Singh who created the game’s first chance with a shot on goal fisted away by Blasters’ custodian Stephen Bywater.
In the early exchanges, the home side’s Cavin, Vineeth and Victor Pulga all tested Dynamos goalkeeper Doblas while Bywater was forced to make a diving save when Brazilian Gustavo dos Santos Marmentini tried a curling effort at his goal in the 14th minute.
Dynamos were forced to substitute left-back Adinga Ralte, who pulled his hamstring in the 18th minute, for Sehnaj Singh as Carlos pushed former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise to his favoured role down the left.
In the 33rd minute, Malouda sprang to life as he whipped in two venomous crosses from the right in quick succession, but the Blasters defence did enough to nullify the French midfielder’s threat.
Blasters made a double change replacing Chris Dagnall, who had suffered a cut on his forehead after clashing with Riise, and Manandeep Singh with Sanchez Watt and Ishfaq Ahmed and followed it up by bringing in Bruno Perone in place of Marchena, their last substitution. As a result, Taylor was forced to watch helplessly as Blasters showed signs of tired legs half way through the second.
In the 67th minute, Blasters defender Marcus Williams directed a cut back from dos Santos towards his own goal but fortunately for him the ball rattled the crossbar and fell back for the defenders to clear their lines.
Seven minutes later, Gadze found the side- netting for Dynamos after released inside the penalty box by Malouda. But, the Ghanaian would go on to score a second winner in as many matches in the dying minutes of the game.