Follow for all HIGHLIGHTS from the Indian Super League clash between East Bengal and Hyderabad FC.
East Bengal tried, ever so hard. But it can’t tamper with Hyderabad’s clean sheet as the Nizams take home three points and are now four points behind Mumbai City FC at the top of the table.
Hyderabad FC with a fast break and it is Ogbeche who backheels it to Aaren D’SIlva, who takes his time, fakes a defender and pings it above Kamaljeet for 2-0. That should be it and it is full time. Hyderabad wins 2-0.
Akash Mishra takes his time to get back on his feet as East Bengal looks to put the ball into promising positions. Chianese found by Yasir inside the box and he chose to go with a diving header which bounces just wide off the post.
Hyderabad looks comfortable as the game enters its final 10 minutes, Suhair and Akash Mishra continue their tussle and it is the latter who comes worst off it. The East Bengal attacker is shown a yellow card for an elbow onto the defender’s chest.
Mahesh chops left and then chops right and then delivers a wicked cross for Suhair. It is only a corner though, thanks to Gurmeet’s intervention. Sumeet Passi rises hight for the corner and almost hits the target.
Doherty finds Cleiton in space for a counter, but the Brazilian slows it down the attack and the opportunity is gone. Chianese comes in for Siverio as Marquez looks to keep things fresh.
Well-worked corner from Hyderabad and it is Ogbeche with an outrageous overhead kick attempt, which fails to hit the target. Hyderabad is on the ascendancy here. At the other end, it is the other star forward’s chance to score. Cleiton dances past Odei, but his shot is nicked away from the target by Gurmeet’s boot. CLOSEST EAST BENGAL HAS COME!!
Manolo Marquez expresses his unhappiness with how his wards are combining on the pitch. He knows very well, despite having done it umpteen times, that a one-goal lead is a slippery one.
Suhair vents his frustration with an elbow to the face off Mishra. He is lucky to not been shown a red card there. Once again, Siverio’s clever touch releases Danu, who unwisely tries to shoot from range. WIDE!
Akash Mishra and Suhair have an off-the-ball collision and the East Bengal attacker is down with what looks like an ankle injury.
Danu is involved again. This time pumps in a cross for Siverio, but he can’t push the header down. East Bengal continues to give away cheap freekicks and with Borja, it is always a dangerous proposition.
East Bengal has the ball inside the Hyderabad box for a considerable amount of time, but they can’t get a shot on, until a miscued clearance by Yasir opened the door for Cleiton. The Brazilian turned and swung, but to everyone’s surprise failed to hit the target.
A defeat would realistically put an end to East Bengal’s play off aspirations, as the second half begins.
Hyderabad holds on to the lead, comfortably. East Bengal can take confidence from the way it took the fight to Hyderabad after a rocky start. EB 0-1 HFC
Poojary is hacked down by Lima and Hyderabad has a freekick from a promising position. As expected, Borja steps up to swing it in and again he finds Siverio, who can’t find the target this time.
Ogbeche finds Siverio, who lays it on for Danu, who takes a touch and unleashes a powerful shot, which needed saving from Kamaljeet. East Bengal defence unable to bear with the pace of Danu.
Cleiton Silva’s involvement is on the rise for East Bengal. Hyderabad wins a corner from the left flank. Borja swings it in and Yasir attempts a strike from range. Didn’t connect that one particularly well. WIDE!!
East Bengal has grown into this game. The hosts have shown aggression and desire after being bosses around by Hyderabad in the opening minutes. But now HFC is finding openings for counter-attacks.
Borja once again finds Siverio with a long ball in the box and he knocks it down for Odei, whose half-volley is sliced high. Lalchungnunga with a long throw and Suhair leaps highest to divert it goalbound. It comes off the cross-bar!! Closest East Bengal has come to scoring.
Borja is pulling the strings for Hyderabad. Danu is found in space and he turns and lets it fly. Narrowly wide, but positive intent from the 20-year-old. East Bengal is unable to break free from this well-structured Hyderabad.
East Bengal is struggling to deal with the impeccable crosses being delivered from both wings by Hyderabad. With Ogbeche and Siverio in the box, Hyderabad looks likely to score more.
Rakip gets the first yellow card of the day for a really badly timed foul on Dorjee. East Bengal growing frustrated as Hyderabad continues to exert control in the midfield. Kamaljit makes a stunning save off Siverio to keep his side in this game.
A well-deserved lead for the Nizams and they look threatening for more. Akash Mishra is through to the byline and Hitesh had all the time to get a shot in, but it is blocked.
Yasir loses the ball to O’Doherty, but shows the resilience to chase the ball back. The play spread to the left and Borja pings a sizzling cross into the back post and Siverio is there to head it in, leaving Kamaljit no chance. GOAALL!!
Slippery conditions at the Salt Lake, meaning defenders and goalkeepers have to be careful on the ball. Hyderabad wins a corner down the right. Kamaljit comes out to punch it away and EB is safe.
HFC raids down the right. But the home defence puts in the necessary work to hold tight. East Bengal forced into its own half by the Hyderabad press.
East Bengal in its home kit, while Hyderabad FC in its away colour of light blue. And the game rolls on.
Two teams with contrasting fortunes and differing agendas will be locking horns when East Bengal hosts Hyderabad FC in a match-week 16 fixture of ISL-9 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.
For East Bengal, which is struggling at the ninth position in the 11-team table with 12 points from 13 matches, this will be a fight to secure a place in the play-offs (top-six).
Hyderabad, with 32 points from 14 matches, will be gunning for the League Shield by regaining its place at the top of the standings. A win is necessary for Hyderabad if it wishes to reduce the seven-points gap with the current leader Mumbai City FC.
The recent loss against Jamshedpur FC would have hurt East Bengal as it continued to remain eight points adrift of the sixth-placed team, currently FC Goa, in the league standings. East Bengal has the advantage of playing one match less than other teams, but that will soon become insignificant if it fails to regain the winning form.
Interestingly, East Bengal enjoys the sixth-best away record in the league but has not been able to replicate the similar form at home.
With only one win at home so far, East Bengal will have to do something extraordinary to get the better of Hyderabad in its upcoming tie. A lot will depend on how Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva, who scored six goals in the last six matches to be on top of this season’s goal-scoring chart with nine goals, converts the scoring opportunities to realise East Bengal’s hopes.
“We have seven games left. Many of our games have been close encounters. We must continue to play and fight. At the start of the season, I said that this is a rebuilding project. You can’t expect unbeaten streaks during such a project,” said East Bengal coach Stephen Constantine. “These are not excuses. These are facts. You cannot expect a team that has won one or two games in the last two seasons to win 15 games in the third season without making any changes,” he added.
Hyderabad dropped points in the 1-1 draw against Chennaiyin FC last week. The defending champion will have to be wary about another faltering step that would move it further from the League Shield race.
Despite seeing its winning streak end in its last outing, Hyderabad is now unbeaten in six successive games. Hyderabad will hope to see more goals from its key striker Bartholomew Ogbeche, who is firing on all cylinders and has scored four goals in the last two games.
“We are not playing our best football, but despite that, the team is difficult to beat. We have been organised so far. It will be a tough game because they have good players, including the league’s top-scorer Cleiton Silva,” said Hyderabad head coach Manolo Marquez. “Now we enter the decisive phase. We know that we will be in the playoffs. To try and win the Shield, we will have to be ambitious,” he added.
-Amitabha Das Sharma