Robin strike helps Delhi beat Goa in ISL semifinals 1st leg

Robin strike helps Delhi beat Goa in ISL semifinals 1st leg

Local lad Robin Singh struck the winner as Delhi Dynamos turned the tables on FC Goa by beating them 1-0 in the first leg semifinals of the Indian Super League football here today.

Robin scored in the 42nd minute in front of 23,000-odd home supporters at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to hand Delhi an advantage over Goa in the two-leg semifinals. The second leg of the semifinals will be played at Margao on December 15.

Today's win broke Delhi's four-match losing streak against Goa in the ISL. They have lost both their league matches in ISL 1 and 2, including the 2-3 defeat this season on December 6 here.

Delhi, who had finished fourth after the league phase, were the dominant side for most part of the match, having far more possession and more shots at the opposition goal.

League phase toppers Goa, coach by legendary Brazillian Zico, surprisingly failed to match up to their performance last Sunday when they exploded in the second session to overturn a 0-2 first half deficit to emerge 2-3 victorious.

They sat back for long part of the first session, looking to score on the break only to be denied by a rock solid Delhi backline the best among the eight teams this season -- marshalled by John Arne Riise.

The match started on an even keel with both sides looking to settle down and tasting each other. Delhi had slightly better possession in the first 15 minutes. But soon they got to a dominant position and had nearly 90 per cent possession in the next 15 minutes and began to threaten at Goa goal.

Former French international and Chelsea star Florent Malouda was in the thick of things on many occasions, providing assists to his team-mates though he failed to score his first ISL goal today also when he got the chance himself.

In the the 41st minute, he did some neat footwork to get past his marker on the right, and squared the ball towards Dos Santos but the Brazilian could not keep the ball on target.
But in the next minute, India international striker Robin scored the goal which separated the two sides by beating Goa captain and Brazillian 2002 World Cup winner Lucio in an aerial duel.

Robin put the ball into the net by connecting an Anderson Chicao pin-point cross as he nodded a powerful header before Lucio could reach upto it past a hapless goalkeeper.
Unlike on Sunday when they pumped in three goals after resumption, Goa failed to score in the second session today.

Five minutes in the second half, Delhi frontman Dos Santos broke out on the counter but Adil Nabi's shot missed the target. That was after C S Sabeeth headed wide on the other side following a deflection off Reinaldo from Joffre Gonzalez's free-kick.

In another counter at the hour mark, led by Dos Santos working well with Nabi, Malsawmluanga sent his touch wide from inside the box while trying to curl the ball in the top right corner.

Rafael Coelho Luiz, who replaced Reinaldo, had a good chance to equalise in the 66th minute. However, the Brazilian's first touch off Joffre's pass fell too kindly for Delhi goalkeeper Antonio Doblas.

Malouda had the chance to score his maiden ISL goal in the 74th minute as he was sent on the clear by Malsawmluanga at the left near post but he shot wide from close range.
Goa had another attempt at Delhi goal but Leo Moura's shot on target off Romeo Fernandes' setup somehow stuck to the feet of Doblas in the 75th minute as luck too clearly was not on the side of FC Goa on the night.

Goa goalkeeper Kattimani then pulled off saves to deny Dos Santos and Robin late in the match even as Rafael headed wide Jonatan Lucca's cross from the left from inside the Delhi box in the 85th minute as Goa pressed for an equaliser desperately.

Three minutes from time, Rafael's pass slipped towards Moura whose shot, however, went off target to miss out on an opportunity to salvage a draw for Goa.

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