Indian Super League, Round 17
Hyderabad FC registered yet another draw after Aridane Santana’s late goal cancelled SC East Bengal’s lead on Friday. Here are a few talking points from this thrilling game…
Never give up!
Starting the game on a dominating note with the HFC strikers consistently testing the SC East Bengal backline, Hyderabad looked more likely to open the scoring on Friday night. While Manolo Marquez’s men did create a few chances, it was East Bengal’s Bright Enobakhare who scored the first goal of the night to give his side the lead, within 15 minutes after the restart.
Showing immense grit and determination, Hyderabad continued to press hard in search of the equalizer. The addition of fresh legs in the second half with Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Fran Sandaza, Rohit Danu and Sahil Tavora coming on, increased the side’s vigour in the SCEB half. Displaying great resilience in attack, HFC finally made their breakthrough two minutes into injury time to cancel SC East Bengal’s lead and win a crucial point. Bearing a heavy resemblance to the match against Bengaluru FC where Aridane and Sandaza scored in the final minutes, this game yet again brought out the team’s strong character and fighting spirit which could be crucial in the final leg of the tournament.
Standing tall in the attack, our skipper has always been an influential player and leader on the pitch and his performance against the Red and Gold Brigade was no exception. Busy all night, Aridane created opportunities, tested Subrata Paul in goal and also added solidity to the defence when required. While he came close on several occasions, it wasn’t until injury time that our No. 9 slotted the ball into the goal to give us the equalizer and set a record as Hyderabad FC’s highest goalscorer in the club’s history. Going into the business end of the campaign, the Spaniard will look to continue his scoring momentum to secure crucial points for Hyderabad and stand strong in the race to the Golden Boot.
Impact of substitutes
Hyderabad FC is known for the effective contributions from their substitutes which was reflected against East Bengal as well. From scoring a goal that was rightly flagged offside to setting up Aridane for the equalizer, Sandaza was one of the most influential substitutes for Hyderabad. Despite being sent on in the final minutes of the game, 18-year-old Rohit Danu made a huge impact on the game as he initiated the attacking movement that led to the goal, by sending in a neat pass into the box for a smart run from Sandaza. Poojary, Tavora and Yasir added balance to the midfield as they regulated possession in the front and negated attacking threats at the back.
Time to convert the chances
Through threatening build-up in the attack, the first half witnessed Hyderabad creating constant problems for SCEB defenders on Friday. Despite stitching together neat passes and maintaining possession, HFC lacked finishing in the final third on multiple occasions. One of our best attempts in the first half came when Lluis Sastre sent a defence-splitting pass to Joel Chianese who was denied by SCEB custodian, Subrata Paul. A few shots from Akash Mishra met with a similar fate as Hyderabad failed to find an opening.
While Bright’s goal put SCEB in the lead, the Hyderabad attackers kept persisting at the Red and Gold Brigade’s backline till Aridane made a breakthrough and brought home the equalizer. Although the late goal was impressive as it showed the team’s character, the need for better finishing was noticeable and became a crucial factor in deciding the result on Friday. With the race to book a place in the ISL playoffs heating up, Manolo Marquez and his men will aim to strengthen their all-round game and finish the season on a high.