New Delhi: Delhi Dynamos put in a sublime second half display as they outplayed Kerala Blasters 2-0 to move to the top of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) table at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Friday.
In a clash between the best attack and strongest defence, Delhi's strike-force delivered in the second session with goals from Kean Lewis and Marcelinho in the 56th and 60th minute, respectively.
Delhi have now scored 12 goals in eight matches, the best record in the league this season, while Kerala lost their best defensive record after conceding two goals for the first time in the league.
It was Kerala's first loss in the last six matches after losing two matches in a row at the beginning of the league. They are now sixth in the table.
The victory enhanced Delhi's points tally to 13 from eight matches, helping them overtake Atletico de Kolkata (12 points) at the top of the table. ATK however still have a match in hand.
Pre-match talk of attack versus defence played out in the opening 45 minutes as Delhi saw more of the ball and had the better scoring chances. Kerala on their part simply defended and looked to hit their opponents on the counter.
Brazilian striker Marcelinho had the first chance to open the account for Delhi when a quick throw-in on the right was flicked on by Richard Gadze to Marcelinho. The Brazilian lost little time in smashing the ball but it only ended up hitting the side netting.
Gadze had a chance to score two minutes later but despite controlling a ball from Florent Malouda inside the box, he could not keep his attempt on target.
Kerala's best chance of the half came late in the game when Kervens Belfort sent a good cross from the left for Didier Kadio in the 42nd minute but his header after generating tremendous power missed the target narrowly.
Delhi turned the match on its head in the second session and had Kerala goalkeeper Sandip Nandy to thank for an unlikely mistake. A back pass was given a poor first-touch by Nandy and Gadze won the ball back and then set it up for Kean Lewis to keep his cool and slam it past a host of defenders.
Four minutes later, Marcelinho made it 2-0 after a fantastic ball from Florent Malouda saw the Brazilian head it perfectly beyond Nandy from an acute angle.
The setbacks upset Kerala's calculations prompting coach Steve Coppell to make three substitutions within a minute. Coppell introduced Antonio German, Pratik Chowdhary and Duckens Nazon but Delhi played the rest of the match without being troubled.