Welcome back to another edition of my walk through of Delhi’s season. Currently, we have looked over two months and they haven’t been the greatest for Uche and Co. Well today I’ll be looking over their January and it’s safe to say Delhi wanted to start the new year off with a bang and get their league campaign back on track. They had a total of five games over the month and quickly glancing at the results, it seems it will just be more doom and gloom. Can I just skip ahead to the part where Uche channels his inner Pele? Thought not, so let’s just get straight to it.
Game 1: Chennaiyin (A) 2-2
Delhi’s first game in 2018 was an away trip to high-flying and future champions Chennaiyin. Delhi were coming off the back of an absolute smashing from Mumbai, whilst Chennaiyin had just beaten Steve Coppel’s Jamshedpur. I think I speak for all Delhi fans when I say things weren’t looking good for Delhi.
The game started and somehow Delhi managed to take the lead, scoring their first goal since the Goa game back in December. Ngaihte managed to get the goal on twenty-four minutes and everyone was stunned by the goal. However, it seemed Delhi weren’t used to being in the lead and allowed Chennaiyin to equalise on forty-two minutes. Jeje got the goal for Chennaiyin, as he always has and Chennaiyin had the upper hand going into the second half.
Delhi collapsed quite quickly in the second half as Jeje scored his second and Chennaiyin’s second of the game to put the home side 2-1 up. Delhi never looked great but they were definitely playing better than what they had been. For this and all their previous lack of luck, Delhi managed to equalise in the ninetieth minute, giving Delhi their first points in the league since the opening game of the season.
Game 2: Kerala Blasters (H) 1-3
Delhi only had three days to recover from that dramatic draw against Chennaiyin as they played David James’ Kerala Blasters. I remember this game like it’s the back of my own hand as it was the first ISL game I watched ahead of me joining this very site and I was definitely treated to a good introduction. Obviously, Delhi had just drawn with Chennaiyin and Kerala were coming off a draw of their own against Pune City so they were both looking to pick up the three points.
The game started at some serious pace and I didn’t have to wait long to see my first ISL goal with Iain Hume getting the first of the game within twelve minutes. Delhi had fallen apart once again and it wasn’t the greatest first impression they could have given me. However, they did get a late equaliser in the first half. Kotal managed to find the back of the net on forty-four minutes, giving Delhi a boost into the second half.
However, that boost didn’t actually exist as the first thirty minutes of the second half were awful. Thankfully, Hume saved me from not joining the site and scored on seventy-eight minutes to give Kerala the lead and make the last ten minutes seriously interesting. However, Hume wanted the game over quickly so he decided to complete his hat trick on eighty-three minutes and completely kill Delhi off.
I must admit, I fell in love with two things thanks to this game. I fell in love with Hume as he looked fantastic and gave me a great first game but I also fell in love with Delhi. I love a good underdog story. I support the Philly Eagles in the NFL because they hadn’t won a Superbowl in their entire existence until this year. I just simply love an underdog story rather than jumping on the bandwagon and that’s why I’ll always say Delhi are my team in the ISL.
Game 3: Bengaluru (H) 2-0
Delhi only had four days this time around to recover from the humiliation they suffered at the hands of Hume and prepare for a tough game against league leaders Bengaluru. Obviously, Delhi had just come off the defeat against Kerala and Bengaluru were coming off the back of a win against ATK. Safe to say things weren’t looking good for Delhi once again.
To be perfectly honest the first seventy minutes of the game was atrocious and easily forgotten by most fans. The game was fast approaching being the worst game in ISL history until Chhangte saved the game on seventy-two minutes and smashed the ball in to put Delhi 1-0 up. Bengaluru could still come back into the game, however, Bose decided to kill them chances and get sent off in added time and giving Delhi a penalty, which Fernandez decided to score, giving Delhi an easy 2-0 win.
Game 4: Jamshedpur (A) 3-2
Delhi finally had a week to prepare for a game and this time around they were being hosted by Jamshedpur. Jamshedpur had been performing quite well over the season and were coming off the back of a 2-1 win against Kerala. Delhi were looking to improve off their previous win against Bengaluru, however, this didn’t happen.
Delhi were unreal in the first half and took the lead quite quickly when my man Uche scored on twenty minutes. He then added a second on twenty-two minutes and Jamshedpur, known for their defensive quality, were looking terrible. However, Tiri got one back for Jamshedpur on twenty-nine minutes and Delhi heads went down as though they had gone 1-0 down.
Steve Coppell’s men sensed blood in the second half and they quickly pounced on Delhi, equalising on fifty-four minutes through Raju. Delhi were completely down and out at this point, they just wanted the game to end, even though they were drawing. They managed to hold Jamshedpur back until the eighty-sixth minute when Goncalves scored winning the game for Jamshedpur 3-2.
Game 5: Kerala Blasters (A) 2-1
Delhi were finishing off their January against an opponent they had just faced this month, Kerala Blasters. With Hume embarrassing them previously, Delhi were looking to get revenge over them. Delhi were definitely a team on the up after upsetting Bengaluru and just losing to Jamshedpur, however, Kerala were a team targeting the playoffs. However, Delhi didn’t get revenge in the end.
Delhi were going in for the kill from the first whistle and they were awarded with a goal on thirty-five minutes when the Nigerian God Kalu Uche stepped up to take a penalty and convert it to make Delhi the leaders. The first half ended with Delhi in the lead but Kerala were finding their way back into the game.
Delhi had another second-half collapse when Kerala managed to get back in the game on forty-eight minutes through a Negi goal. Then a familiar figure came back to haunt Delhi. Delhi gave away a penalty on seventy-five minutes and of course, Iain Hume stepped up and converted it. Hume won the game for Kerala in the end and Delhi had to sit there and watch.
P: 5 | W: 1 | D: 1 | L: 3 | GS: 8 | GC: 10 | PTS: 4
January was a much improved month for Delhi as they picked up their first win since the opening game and managed to find the back of the net on a regular basis. Their performances had improved as well, however, they still needed consistency. Who knows, that may come in the month of February which is where I will be starting the next edition.