Young NorthEast United FC goalkeeper T P Rehenesh made three spectacular saves to deny Delhi Dynamos a win as the the two sides settled for a
goal-less stalemate after an entertaining Hero Indian Super League match on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old Rehenesh denied Delhi captain Alessandro del Piero in what could have been his first goal of the ISL in the 39th minute as he he dived full length to his right after the Italian legend's free kick had beaten the defensive wall.
The Kerala goalkeeper then made diving saves to deny Delhi striker Hans Mulder twice -- in the 87th and 90th minutes -- much to the agony of the home supporters.
With the draw, Delhi Dynamos remained on fourth in the league standings with six points from four matches while NorthEast also maintained their third spot with eight points from five games. The Dynamos are unbeaten in the league with three draws and a win.
NorthEast were without marquee player Joan Capdevila and Koke due to injuries but despite their absence, the match was evenly contested with the biggest crowd turning up at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
The visiting team had their share of supporters among the 20,000-odd crowd with a large number of Delhi-based youngsters from the eight states of that region turning up.
Delhi's marquee player Del Piero showed flashes of his brilliance including a fierce drive from just outside the box which was, however, parried away by a diving NorthEast goalkeeper Rehenesh in the 14th minute.
The 39-year-old Del Piero also tried his luck from his trademark free-kick in the 39th minute but was denied by a beautiful work by the NorthEast keeper, who dived to his right to pluck the ball. Del Piero was later substituted in the 57th minute by Brazilian Gustavo Dos Santos.
In between, NorthEast striker James Keene's strike from inside the box off a pass by Durga Boro was saved brilliantly by Delhi goalkeeper Kristof Van Hout's long legs.
Young NorthEast keeper Rehenesh was brilliant under the bar as he also made a diving save to deny Mulder a goal in the 86th minute.
Northeast looked a better side in the second half with more goal-bound moves. Englishman James Keen and Durga Boro were in the thick of things upfront and Brazilian Felipe de Castro gave the supplies as Delhi defence was under constant pressure. Somehow the visiting side could not get a real chance though the Delhi goalkeeper was kept busy.
Dos Santos, who scored a brilliant solo goal in Delhi's previous match against Chennaiyin FC, had a glorious chance to give the home side the lead, but his powerful left-footer from just outside the box flew inches over the cross bar.
Dos Santos was also in a run-and-hit situation in the 79th minute and, under pressure from an opposition defender, he again shot it over from the top of the box. Northeast midfielder Leo Bertos had a half chance in the 73rd minute but his aerial shot landed at the back top roof of the net.
Image: A Delhi Dynamos FC player (orange) battle for the ball with NorthEast United FC's Robin Gurung (white) during the ISL match at Nehru Stadium.