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I-League: Delhi FC rout Corbett FC 5-1 in qualifiers

 
Bengaluru, Oct 9 (IANS) Delhi FC produced a late surge of goals to thrash Corbett FC 5-1 in a Group B encounter in the 2021 I-League Qualifiers at the Bangalore Football Stadium, here on Saturday.

With the pouring rain providing the setting here, Delhi FC adapted to the difficult playing conditions to assert their dominance over the club from Uttarakhand. The side from the capital overcame a one-goal deficit to take all three points from the match.

Corbett FC produced a gritty performance to contain Delhi FC for the first 45 minutes of the match. However, the Rudrapur-based club could not keep a lid on Delhi FC for much longer, as they conceded the equaliser in first-half stoppage time. Delhi FC showed their fantastic attacking attributes at the death, scoring four goals in the final 15 minutes plus added time in the second half.

Corbett FC struck the first blow of the game in the 12th minute from a rapid counter-attack. After winning the ball in midfield, striker John Chidi was released with a quick through pass, leaving him in a one versus one situation with Delhi FC centre-back Suraj. Chidi showed that he not only had the pace to burn but also the composure to beat his man by bringing the ball over to his favoured right foot, before sliding it calmly past a hapless James Kithan in the Delhi FC goal.

The rain showed no signs of slowing down and the heavily waterlogged pitch meant both teams had to adapt their playing style accordingly.

Delhi FC responded to this need first, making two tactical substitutions in the 30th minute by bringing on Willis Plaza and Sergio Barboza Jr in place of Radhakanta Singh and Fahad Temuri. The changes from coach Surinder Singh almost paid off instantly, as the two substitutes nearly combined to bring Delhi FC back on level terms.

Both teams came out after the half-time break willing to take the fight to the opposition. The first moment of quality came in the 75th minute from a free-kick won by Anwar Ali, who was brought down as he set off on a marauding run with the ball.

What followed was a moment of pure magic from Anwar, who stepped up to take a left-footed free-kick over 35 yards from goal, that left Corbett FC goalkeeper Ahamed Asfar scrambling. Taking the cue from his captain, defender Samuel Shadap produced his own world-class strike in the 88th minute to put the game bey'nd Corbett FC's reach. Lurking at the edge of the box, Shadap got on top of a half-cleared ball to produce a first time half volley that went through a crowd of bodies and nestled into the bottom right corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Substitute Laiwang Bohham got in on the act in the 90th minute, as he volleyed home the rebound after goalkeeper Asfar came out to get a fist to the Samuel Shadap cross, but was unable to clear the danger.

Delhi FC captain Anwar Ali rounded off the score with another free-kick over 30 yards from goal, a knuckleball kick that dipped and swerved in the air before finding the back of the net.

With this commanding victory, Delhi FC sit at the top of Group B, with one foot in the final round. The def'at ended Corbett FC's hopes of qualifying for the I-League with one game still to go.

--IANS

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