Chennai: Italian legend Alessandro del Piero scored his first goal at the fag end of the tournament via a superb free-kick as Delhi Dynamos rallied from two goal down to hold leaders Chennaiyin FC 2-2 in a thrilling Indian Super League football match here yesterday.
Alessandro del Piero
The draw gave Delhi a small chance to make it to the semifinals as their qualification will now depend on the results of tomorrow's matches. Chennaiyin, who now have 23 points after their league engagements ended today, and Goa FC (21 points with one match left) have already qualified for the semifinals.
Delhi have also ended their league engagements with 18 points and their fate may be decided by the result of tomorrow's match between Atletico de Kolkata -- who also have 18 points -- and Goa FC in Kolkata. A win will seal ATK a place in the last four but a loss against Goa tomorrow by a two-goal margin may create problems
for them. ATK have a goal difference of three as against two of Delhi.
A loss for ATK tomorrow by two-goal margin will see their goal difference reduce to just one. Chennai got off to an great start with Bruno Pelissari and Jeje Lalpekhlua putting them comfortably ahead in the 16th and 28th minutes respectively. Delhi hit back in the second session through Del Piero's excellent free-kick in the 53rd minute and Hans Mulder's drive from outside the area in the 88th minute.
Delhi looked the better of the two teams at the start of the game and set about attacking with purpose. They did threaten the Chennaiyin citadel time and again but were unable to make the most of their chances. It was Chennai who took the unexpected lead. Adil Khan blocked Jeje Lalpekhlua from running on to a loose ball in the
box and hit it out for a corner.
The Brazilian Pelissari stepped up and curled his flag-kick directly past Kristof Van Hout and into the far corner for a sensational opener in the 16th minute that set the home side on their way. Things did not get better for the visitors following the goal as Mads Junker went down with an injury and was replaced by Del Piero in the 23rd minute.