Kolkata: Brazilian striker Gustavo dos Santos struck an injury-time goal as Delhi Dynamos beat defending champions Atletico de Kolkata by a solitary goal in a closely-fought Indian Super League football match here on Thursday.
Delhi substitute Santos stepped up when it mattered most as he blasted into the back of the ATK net after being brilliantly set up by Florent Malouda in the 90+3rd minute to stun the 41,000 home side supporters at the Salt Lake Stadium to silence.
Delhi's win through a last-gasped goal was all the more laudable as they were down with 10 men in in the 80th minute when Souvik Chakraborty was given the marching orders after receiving his second yellow card for bringing down Gavilan.
This was ATK's third loss on the trot in the season while Delhi have jumped to joint top with FC Pune City with 12 points with four wins from six matches. ATK are now at the sixth spot in the eight-team league table with seven points.
The loss further exposed ATK's frailties in the forward line as the last season's Hero of the League Iain Hume has struggled to find the same form and once again failed to open his account in absence of their marquee player Helder Postiga who is back in Spain recovering from an injury.
ATK had lost by an identical scoreline in Pune and Guwahati.
Having replaced Richard Gadze in the 60th minute, the Brazilian Santos showed his intention clear when he brilliantly cut-back into the box for Malouda in the 83rd minute. But Arnab Mondal's body came in the line as he was struck in the chest to keep a clean slate.
As promised by him yesterday, Delhi coach-cum-marquee player Roberto Carlos made his way into the field when he replaced John Arne Riise in the 64th minute to a huge applause from crowd.
In only his second ISL appearance, the 42-year-old was seen in the central midfield and almost scored an own goal from his left-foot deflection but an alert Antonio Doblas quickly got into position to avoid a disaster. Carlos had made his ISL debut against FC Goa when he turned up in the second-half.
Both the teams headed into the break with the score reading 0-0 as they failed to create any clear cut opportunity.
The first real scare for Delhi came in the 15th minute when Sameehg Doutie tried to angle the ball into far post where Hume was left unmarked. But the Canadian's free header lacked any firepower to beat the Delhi goalkeeper as it was a rather event less first 45 minutes.
The defending champions had another opportunity when Hume was fouled by Delhi goalkeeper Doblas just on the edge of the box but Jaime Gavilan's weak left-footer was not enough to break the wall.
In the 37th minute, ATK nearly scored a goal but for Baljit's poor finish in front the goal from a well-directed Gavilan freekick.
As for Dynamos, their best chance of the first half came in the 24th minute when Singh got behind the ATK defence to put Gadze clear on goal but he blasted it over.
The home team made one change to their line-up bringing in South African Doutie in place of Javi Lara as they banked on their solitary forward Hume in their 4-2-3-1 formation.