Delhi Dynamos were lucky to have maintained their unbeaten record in the Indian Super League (ISL) after settling for an entertaining 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
Delhi Dynamos surged ahead after Kean Lewis capitalised on an error from NorthEast United's goalkeeper Subrata Paul in the 38th minute but the visitors earned a point through Emiliano Alfaro in the 51st minute.
The draw saw NorthEast United FC maintain their position at the top of the table with 10 points from five matches while Delhi Dynamos are at the third position with five points from three matches.
In an entertaining clash, both teams had several chances to get the upper hand early in the game, but were found wanting in front of goal. The strikers of both teams saw plenty of chances to score, only to be spurned.
Former Real Madrid midfielder Marcos Tebar was the first to go close in the 18th minute for Delhi Dynamos as his free header from Marcelinho's corner kick was misdirected from close range.
A minute later, NorthEast United goalkeeper Paul was called into action twice to keep away attempts from Milan Singh and Kean Lewis. Marcelinho then had a chance to finish off the move but only ended up aiming at the sky.
NorthEast United had their chances as well, largely from defensive mistakes. First Ruben Gonzalez gave away the ball to Nicolas Velez and the Argentinean squared it for Alfaro whose shot from handshaking distance was embarrassingly wide. Katsumi Yusa and Velez too went close for the visitors.
Delhi Dynamos got the breakthrough when Marcelinho's corner saw goalkeeper Paul completely miss the flight of the ball and it fell nicely for Lewis, who controlled it well and directed it into the goal.
NorthEast United fought their way back into the match six minutes after the second half kicked off. Typically, it came from a defensive mistake by Delhi Dynamos after Ruben gave the ball away to Velez.
The Argentine striker, who troubled his markers with pace and swift movements, then picked up Alfaro whose shot was blocked by Delhi defender Chinglensana Singh. However, the rebound fell for Alfaro again and this time he made no mistake, bringing his team back on level terms.
Either team could have walked away with full points had their strikers remained sharp. Immediately after drawing level, Holicharan Narzary shot wide with only the goalkeeper at his mercy and then Gadze had a chance at the other end but Paul came to his side's rescue by saving the attempt with his knee.