Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Dos Santos sealed the deal for Delhi Dynamos in the dying seconds as he scored the winner against Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) in an Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here on Thursday.
At the 94th minute mark Frenchman Florent Malouda found Dos Santos amidst a host of ATK defenders and the Brazilian calmly tucked the ball in past rival custodian Amrinder Singh.
With this win, Delhi now find themselves second on the league table with 12 points from six games whereas ATK are now struggling at the sixth spot with just seven points from six outings.
The contest was restricted to the midfield for the first few minutes as both sides tried to gauge each other’s strengths. No team could create a clear cut opportunity as the defenders successfully negated the few chances that came for rival strikers.
The first chance for the hosts fell to their Canadian striker Iain Hume but his header off a Sameehg Doutie cross was collected by rival custodian Antonio Doblas who dived to his right.
At the other end, a few minutes later former Chelsea star Malouda’s header and John Arne Riise’s ambitious long ranger both sailed over the crossbar.
ATK had their moment again in front of the goal as Spaniard Gavilan Martinez swung in a curling free kick but Baljit Sahni, who was at the first post, could not deflect the ball in.
The last two chances of the first half came for the Dynamos but their Indian forward Robin Singh missed both. The first was a header from a Malouda cross and the next was a grounder from the Frenchman which a tired Singh could not reach.
The scoreline read goalless at half time.
Like the first 45 minutes, the beginning of the second half lacked pace as tackles flew thick and fast. A challenge on Hume in the 55th minute saw his head getting cut open. As the Canadian protested at not having got a free kick the referee showed him the yellow card.
After returning to the field with a bandage covering his bleeding head, Hume darted forward with intent but the ball was swept off his feet by a rival defender.
The crowd, which was relatively silent, suddenly sprung to life as World Cup winner and Dynamos marquee player Roberto Carlos came on as a substitute. The Brazilian’s first touch, however, was a deflection which might have given ATK the lead but Doblas was quick to react and collected the sphere before it crept in.
At the 80th minute mark, Chakrabarti, who had already been booked earlier by the referee was sent off for an open-stud challenge on Martinez.
Three minutes later a cross from Dos Santos was booted goal ward by Malouda but Atletico defender Arnab Mondal headed clear the danger.
In injury time, Malouda found Santos with a crisp pass inside the penalty area, all the Brazilian had to do was punch it in, and he obliged snatching a victory from a game which was surely heading for a lacklustre stalemate.