2016 Indian Super League, 2016 Indian Super League
  • Richard Gadze (15')
  • Florent Malouda (25', 85')
  • Kean Lewis (54')
  • Bernard Mendy (37')

Malouda brace guides Delhi to dominant win

Delhi Dynamos 4-1 Chennaiyin FC (2:30)

A Florent Malouda brace saw Delhi Dynamos demolish Chennaiyin FC in Delhi in ISL 2016. (2:30)

With the capital city of India still shrouded in smog and darkness, Delhi Dynamos' star player Florent Malouda shone brightly to lift his team up to the top of the ISL table.

Leading from the front, Malouda was at the forefront of everything Delhi created, scoring and assisting twice in a hugely impressive 4-1 victory against Chennaiyin FC.

The defeat was Chennaiyin's first away from home, and the defending champions are now winless in four matches, their hopes of reaching the playoffs becoming trickier with each passing game.

Prior to this game, the only time Chennaiyin had been beaten this season was against Delhi themselves, last month.

On that night, Delhi bamboozled the hosts with skill and flair, as Marcelo Pereira orchestrated a 3-1 victory in Chennai. On Tuesday, Delhi employed a more direct route, bullying Chennaiyin with strength and power.

Marco Materazzi has not had a settled backline or strike-force all season, and once again, he shuffled his deck. Dudu Omagbemi partnered Davide Succi up front, while Bernard Mendy paired with Eli Sabia in defence, leaving the marquee player John Arne Riise on the bench.

Kean Lewis and Richard Gadze were just too strong for Chennaiyin's makeshift back four, and Delhi took a deserved lead in the 16th minute.

An off-colour Siam Hanghal was dispossessed by Malouda near the halfway line, and with a big hole gaping in front of him, Malouda attacked the space and pulled the trigger from distance.

His shot was hit with power, and Karanjit Singh could only parry the ball straight into the path of Gadze, who tapped home to collect his third goal of the season.

Delhi were a goal up, but more importantly for them, it sparked life into Malouda, who has had a fairly quiet tournament so far.

Everything Delhi created going forward came through Malouda, and only a goal was missing to cap off a fine, all-round performance in the first half. That moment eventually arrived in the 26th minute.

Delhi were winning nearly every aerial duel in Chennaiyin's third, and once again, Gadze easily brushed aside Sabia while contesting a long ball from Marcos Tebar. Gadze held up the ball and set Malouda up for another crack at goal from distance.

This time, Malouda went for placement instead of power, giving the keeper the eyes and sending the ball rolling past Karanjit's desperate dive.

Chennaiyin were two down inside 30 minutes, and their disjointed XI just did not seem up for a fight. The visitors' only way back into the game looked to be from a moment of individual magic, or a Delhi error.

Delhi looked resolute at the back, so instead, Chennaiyin's captain Mendy took it upon himself to conjure up something special. Picking the ball from near the halfway line, Mendy dribbled past one Delhi player, side-stepped past another, feinted past a third, and beat Antonio Doblas at his near post.

Out of nowhere, Mendy had just scored one of the goals of the season, and Chennaiyin were suddenly buoyed going into the break.

Materazzi introduced Jeje Lalpekhlua for the second half, but as was the case in the first, all eyes were on Malouda.

In the 53rd minute, Malouda, stuck deep in his own half, flicked the ball over a Chennaiyin player, drove forward, exchanged passes with Gadze, and hurled another thunderbolt towards Karanjit, forcing a fine save from the keeper.

Malouda was everywhere, and he was doing almost everything himself. A minute later, the ball broke to him on the left, and Malouda toyed with the right-back Mehrajuddin Wadoo before setting up Lewis for a first-time shot.

Much like Malouda had done for his goal in the first half, Lewis merely caressed the ball with placement and curl, and once again, Karanjit's dive was in vain.

Their two-goal advantage restored, Delhi began to run riot. Rather than shut shop at the back, Chennaiyin chose to throw men forward, and Delhi were more than happy to occupy all the free land in front of them. However, poor finishing from Gadze and the substitute Badara Badji prevented Delhi from pulling further ahead.

Chennaiyin's night was summed up in the 70th minute when Jeje was played in by Hans Mulder, but blasted high with only the keeper to beat.

Delhi's was summed up in the 85th, when Badji rose high to meet a Marcelo corner, and the ball took a touch off Malouda before ending up in the net. Malouda had no idea where the ball was, but as he had been doing throughout the 90 minutes, he was simply at the right place at the right time.

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