From West Brom vs Delhi Dynamos to Delhi Dynamos vs Kerala blasters

.Delhi Dynamos did not win the Cup but it did win a million hearts with its football, from the first pre-season match to the semi-finals of Indian Super League (ISL) they showed greatness, I remember watching Delhi against West Brom and thinking to myself "If Delhi played this way all throughout the season then the cup is ours" and something similar happened.

Chennaiyan FC vs  Delhi Dynamos FC

This was the opening match of the season, Lions were taking on the Defending champions away in their first match, Delhi took some time before unleashing waves of attack on Chennaiyan, Milan won a penalty and Marcelineho scored his first ever goal for the lions and from there on everything was smooth as butter, Marcelinho struck again to give Dynamos a one-goal lead just after Dudu had equalised. In the second half, Badji scored the 3rd goal for the lions.

Chennaiyan FC 1:3 Delhi Dynamos

This match was just the trailer of what Delhi was capable of, the Indians impressed as much as the foreigners.Delhi was clearly the strongest side and some people went on to predict Delhi winning the League.

Delhi Dynamos FC Vs Mumbai City FC

After the first win, Delhi cooled down a little bit. After a few draws it was time for the metro derby, I was there watching the game from stands, I had no idea about the thrills I was about to go through, Mumbai starting the goal fest with back to back two goals, Fans went silent in the stands shocked with what they had just witnessed but soon Delhi were to come back in the game, this time it was Gadze who brought us back in the game.

At half time it was 2:1 but the second half brought the real joy. Mumbai again took two goals lead by a strike by Sony Norde but today it was Gadze's day as he won a penalty and assisted another goal to keep Lions undefeated at home. At full time it was:-

Delhi Dynamos FC 3:3 Mumbai City FC

Soon after this match, Delhi lost their first match against Kolkata away but that made the team even stronger, as they went on to thrash Goa, Chennai, and Kerala before the return fixture.

It was time for Kolkata to face the lions at their den, and what a match it was, Delhi conceded an early goal thanks to Ian Hume's strike and soon they were one man down when Badji attempted to score with his hand. But all this was not going to stop Delhi as they soon equalized with Milan's heroic effort, Kolkata's Javi Lara was quick to react with another screamer. Once again Kolkata was leading and we needed a miracle.

Zambrotta decided to give Gadze rest and Florent Malouda took the number 9 position. Malouda after missing a penalty in the same match was determined to score and he did it in style. Showing his legendary footwork he tricked 3 defenders and placed the ball at the back of the net. The fans in the stadium (including me) went berserk, and with that draw, we had qualified for the Semis with 2 league games remaining.

The Semi-Finals

Delhi went into the first leg as favorites against Kerala, but the hosts were prepared, Steve Coppel had the game well planned, Kerala defended well and had most of the Delhi players under control, they had neutralized any threat from Delhi's midfield and played counter attacking football. They took the lead with a solo effort from Belfort and after that, it was all about stopping Lions from scoring. Hengbart did a brilliant goal-line clearance of a header from Marcelinho at that was the closest Delhi came to scoring a goal that day.

The second leg was at Den and we fans were least worried about the one goal advantage that Kerala had coming into the away leg, Delhi Dynamos were undefeated at home and had scored 18 goals in last 7 matches in the home,  so scoring was not a problem.

Unfortunately, we picked up an early red card, Milan Singh had to leave the field and once again Delhi was left with 10 men in a very important match, the opener came soon when Marcelinho scored off a bad clearance and Kerala equalized quickly from a counter attack. The first half had ended 1:1.

For the rest of the match, it was Delhi doing all attacks, one after another Kerala somehow survived all that, the 10 men Delhi never looked a man down, Rocha looked determined to score one and he did soon.

But the game was not over, it was 2:2 on aggregate and we needed a winner and Lions looked very close to scoring one. Shouvik was running up and down the field, attacking then coming back to defend then attacking again, Marcelinho was taking shots at regular intervals, Florent Malouda was playing like some football god, it was now or never for the team and they gave their all.  But it was not our day.

Finally, after all that 120 minutes of play, it was time for a penalty shootout which did not go well at all, the captain stepped up to take the first one and missed, then Pellisari stepped up and missed and finally, Nandy saved Memo's effort to win it for Kerala.

Hence, our ISL journey was over for 2016, even the critics admitted that the best team did not win it, Marcelineho received the Golden boot award and Malouda became the first Marquee to win Golden ball for his heroic display.
Zambrotta was proud of the team and the football they played, so were we the fans. Hope to see them all again next season. #RoarWithTheLions

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