Though the Lions fell short of the crown crashing out on penalties to eventual runners-up Kerala Blasters, it was a remarkable season for the capital outfit who emerged a team transformed with their pacy attacks and a stack of goals…

Delhi Dynamos FC were easily the most attacking side of the third season of the Indian Super League and they showed it on the field. The team scored 27 games in the 14 league games, also scoring twice over the two semi-final legs. Delhi Dynamos showed some really silky football on the field which gave audiences a lot to get excited about. Keeping the ball at their feet and attacking opposition from the first whistle, the Lions showed a brand of football never-seen-before in the ISL. The team also brought to the fore three supremely talented Indians in Kean Lewis, Milan Singh and Chinglesana Singh Konsham. All the three youngsters have gained a lot from their experiences playing for the tactically astute Gianluca Zambrotta who instilled a professional and fighting attitude which sought only to win and score goals aplenty.


 Fact Sheet for ISL Season 3

 Season Finished: Semi-finalists

 Games Played: 16

Won : 5

Lost : 5

Drawn : 6

Win %: 35.75% 

   GF: 29

GA: 22




The Dynamos went through a major overhaul this season, but probably their most important signing was that of former World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta as coach. The Italian re-invigorated the side which had barely reached the semi-finals last season. The team had retained important players like Florent Malouda, Toni Doblas and Shouvik Chakroborty and bought clear match-winners in the form of Marcelinho, Marcos Tebar and Ruben Gonzalez Rocha.

The team were one of the better teams in terms of pre-season, playing games in England and Sweden. The Dynamos defeated various teams and put in some very strong performances against Skene IF and West Bromwich Albion. The Lions lost by a solitary goal to the English Premier League side, which showed their quality and title ambitions.


Top 3 Players


Florent Malouda  Souvik Chakraborty 
The Golden Boot winner with 10 goals, Marcelinho set the tournament on fire like Iain Hume and Stiven Mendoza did in the first two seasons respectively. The Brazilian winger directly contributed in 55% of his team’s goals. The left-footed forward was a delight to watch and was the Italian coach’s go-to-man in times of crisis. Breaking opposition defences at will, Marcelinho was the player who was hugely followed throughout the league and totalled 310 passes, also making 26 shots on target. The Brazilian single-handedly won various matches for the Lions.


The Frenchman needs no introduction whatsoever and Indian football should be thankful for his services. Moulding the likes of Milan Singh well under him, Florent Malouda continued where he had left off last season. The Frenchman had assisted 8 times for the Lions in ISL 2 and Zambrotta made sure he wanted his main man in the midfield. Controlling the tempo as a box-to-box midfielder, Malouda seamlessly made the much-needed change to adjust to the Italian’s strategically attacking game-play. The former Champions League winner ensured the team did not have any problem in attack, also playing as the lone striker in four games. The player was brilliant in link-up play and defended valiantly.


This might make Kean Lewis a little sad, but Souvik was one of the key players this season for the Lions, playing every minute for the Gianluca Zambrotta’s team. Souvik was the key figure in breaking up a lot of opposition attacks and started a lot of attacks from the back. The Mohun Bagan midfielder also knows how to string passes together, contributing a lot in the build-up play. Such was the player’s contribution that he was the first name on the Italian coach’s team-sheet. Souvik was one of the fans’ favourite and is there to remain.

Games: 15
Goals: 5
Assists: 10
Shots on Target: 26
Games: 16
Goals: 3
Assists: 5
Shots on Target: 15

Goals Against:22
Interceptions: 31


Flop of the Season 


Lalchhawnkima: The 25-year old defender is no longer a youngster who needs to be given chances to prove himself on the pitch. After two strong I-League seasons with Aizwal FC and Royal Wahingdoh, Lalchhawnkima was signed by the Dynamos for the third season of the ISL for the right-back position. The defender first got involved after Anas Edathodika’s injury. The player got a lot of time from the coach, who put his faith in him as somebody who deserved to play due to his work-rate. Kim Kima made a lot defensive errors throughout the league, conceding three key penalties, which drew two games for the capital side. Kim Kima did play the second leg of the semi-finals, but his inconsistency cost the team dear on various instances. Lalchhawnkima did have a few strong games at centre-back, but should be more consistent and less error-prone to find his way into the line-up.


Tato’s Performance in ISL 2016 

Matches : 12

Goals :0

Tackles: 25

Interceptions: 7


Top 3 Performances


  1.   Delhi Dynamos 5-1 FC Goa ( Match Report and Highlights) 

  2. Delhi Dynamos 3-3 Mumbai City (Match Report and Highlights)

  3.  Chennaiyin FC 1-3 Delhi Dynamos (Match Report and Highlights)



Manager’s Report Card 


Italian World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta signed for the Delhi Dynamos this season, transforming the side into one of the most attacking sides in the league. The team saw a possession best game-play, which made them one of the most dominating teams in the league. Zambrotta gave the team a strong line-up of foreign players, which included the right balance of Brazilian wizardry, Spanish passing tempo and African hard-work. He was one of the very few coaches who gave key roles to the Indian players, taking a lot of output from Kean Lewis, Milan Singh, Shouvik Chakroborty and Anas Edathodika. Zambrotta shaped his team in a 4-3-3 formation, where the central pivot was equally capable of breaking down opposition play as well as creating and building-up chances for the attacking teammates. With some superb dominating performances this season, Delhi Dynamos can be sure of better things next campaign if they keep working on the same project


Lessons to be learned


The defence was the only area of concern for the side. The team had one of the finest sides in the attacking third, but individual mistakes pulled them down in the backline. The team was well led from the back with the experienced Ruben Gonzalez Rocha playing a very important role in the Lions’ setup. The Spaniard played a lot of balls to Marcos Tebar, who controlled proceedings well sitting deep. Milan Singh also needs to be a little more disciplined, as the player was sent off in the second leg of the semi-finals. The Indian midfielder was one of the better players for the capital side and has grown immensely this season. The Italian coach would like to inculcate a little more discipline to his team’s defensive structure and would like to add a striker to his line-up, who can hold-up play well. Richard Gadze is not the best passer of the ball while Badara Badji can only play as the main target man and the team needs someone – a player who is capable of bossing the opposition box as well as coming deep and helping in the link-up play. Not too much change and experiment should be done with this side, as Zambrotta’s project already looks convincing enough.


Fan View


Saurabh Srivastava


Delhi Dynamos brought in Italian World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta to change their fortunes in Indian Super League. The Delhi based ISL club retained some of the players from the last season. The African forward Richard Gadze, Spanish shot-stopper Toni Doblas and former Chelsea footballer Florent Malouda were the main players in the retained list of the team.

Brazilian winger Marcelinho was a star addition to the club and surprisingly set the benchmark for attacking statistics.

In the midfield, Milan Singh and Florent Malouda were completely indispensable for the manager. The former Chelsea winger adapted nicely to his new role in midfield and complemented his attacking troika extremely well. .

Souvik Chakraborty was brilliant as a right-back and Ruben Rocha with Anas made a rock solid pair at the back, keeping the goalpost attack-free and safe at times.

Delhi Dynamos’ failure to ‘kill the game’ in big matches despite a plethora of chances cost them the ISL title for the second consecutive year. You cannot miss penalties in a do or die game. Actually Malouda didn’t miss it, he skyrocketed the ball as if he was on a NASA mission.


Photos Courtesy: ISL Media

Editorial by Punit Tripathi Khel Now Correspondent from Delhi – A sports enthusiast. Freelance writer on football and cricket. A die-hard Manchester United follower.