ISL 2020-21 news: Defensive collapse denies Bengaluru win, Hyderabad snatches draw

ISL 2021: BFC had the match in the bag, leading 2-0 with just five minutes of regulation time left, before Hyderabad struck through Santana and Sandaza.

Hyderabad FC celebrates the late equalising goal of Fran Sandaza against Bengaluru FC.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

A defensive meltdown in the final moments cost Bengaluru FC (BFC) a precious win as Hyderabad FC snatched a 2-2 draw at the Tilak Maidan stadium in Goa on Thursday.

AS IT HAPPENED

BFC had the match in the bag, leading 2-0 with just five minutes of regulation time left, thanks to goals from Sunil Chhetri and Leon Augustine. A confident Naushad Moosa even replaced Chhetri, only for Hyderabad to hit back through Aridane Santana and Fran Sandaza in the 86th and 90th minutes, respectively. Both goals were simple tap-ins off moves originating from the right flank, made possible by some lazy defending. 

Hyderabad could have won it all, if not for its rank profligacy earlier in the contest. The result, nonetheless, helped Manuel Marquez’s side retain its top-four position (19 points), even as it extended BFC’s winless run to eight matches, a streak that the club last experienced in 2016-17 when it was still part of the I-League.

BFC's Leon Augustin scored his first senior goal in the 2-2 draw. ISL/Sportzpics

 

BFC took the lead in the ninth minute through a glancing header by Chhetri off a finely delivered free kick by Cleiton Silva. It came minutes after defensive mainstay Juanan hobbled off with a hamstring strain. Hyderabad responded by stringing together a few bright moves but Santana, Joel Chianese, Joao Victor and Halicharan Narzary all failed to capitalise.

READ | ISL 2020-21 news: Bengaluru FC equals worst run in club's history

Santana and Narzary in particular would be gutted with their efforts. On 24 minutes, the unmarked Spaniard had just Gurpreet Sandhu to beat but couldn’t curl the ball in. On the stroke of half-time, Narzary missed an open goal from five yards out off Akash Mishra’s fine cross from the left flank.

Following the restart, Santana came close again, forcing Sandhu into saving his header. Just after the hour mark, Augustine’s first-ever ISL strike for BFC appeared to have killed the contest. The pacy 22-year-old latched on to a misplaced back pass from Hitesh Sharma and slotted home with the outside of his right boot. It was to Hyderabad’s credit that it did not wilt.

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