ISL 2020-21, HFC vs SCEB talking points: 'Roca's rookies', East Bengal's reality

ISL 2020: From what's happening at East Bengal to Manuel Roca's youngsters, here are the talking points from Hyderabad's win on Tuesday.

Published : Dec 16, 2020 08:46 IST

Hyderabad FC and SC East Bengal represent contrasting fortunes in the league so far - with local talent stepping up for Roca and frustrating Fowler.
Hyderabad FC and SC East Bengal represent contrasting fortunes in the league so far - with local talent stepping up for Roca and frustrating Fowler.

Hyderabad FC and SC East Bengal represent contrasting fortunes in the league so far - with local talent stepping up for Roca and frustrating Fowler.

Hyderabad FC (HFC) came back from a goal down to beat SC East Bengal (SCEB) 3-2 in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Miadan on Tuesday.

Aridane Santana struck twice within a minute and Halicharan Narzary added a third as Hyderabad maintained its unbeaten start to the season.

Here are the talking points from the game.


1) 'Roca's rookies' can play

In five matches so far, Hyderabad is yet to have its full set of overseas players in its starting XI. In the draw against ATK Mohun Bagan, it had just two fit foreigners, and three in the win over East Bengal. Hyderabad has maintained its unbeaten run thanks in large parts to the performances of their youngsters. Full-backs Akash Mishra (19) and Asish Rai (21), forward Liston Colaco (22), and midfielders Hitesh Sharma (22) and Mohammed Yasir (22) have formed the core of this side.

Hyderabad has been making rapid strides this season with several young Indians making a mark. - ISL/Sportzpics

Manuel Marquez Roca has put his trust in the youngsters and has played a significant role in developing these youngsters. Speaking about their progress in the build-up to the match, Roca said, "I wouldn't say I am impressed [with their performances]. I said previously to the media that I am not impressed because I have seen them in the training session everyday. I am very, happy for them because they are showing big personalities in the game. not only the younger players, I don't want to speak about one player but Halicharan Narzary is improving every game."

2) What's happening at East Bengal?

Five matches, zero wins, minus eight goal difference, one solitary point. Eleventh place. Rock bottom. The Kolkata giant has had it tough since its move to the ISL this season. It has had some decisions go against it, key players have been injured and has found it hard to score goals. It has created the least number of chances among the 11 teams.

Head coach Robbie Fowler says he is at a 'loss for words' after the recent defeat but has still managed to say a lot to add to some of his headline grabbing quotes in the opening month of the ISL. From the 'uncoached Indian players' comments two weeks back to wanting VAR despite not being a fan of it to admitting that the squad assembled is not good enough for the country's top division, you can take your pick.


Before the start of the season, Fowler claimed that he was 'more than satisfied' with the Indian players in the squad. Should the criticism be shared with the coach too? Is the former Liverpool and England star the right man to lead the Red and Golds out of this hole?

3) Liston, Roca's ace card

Hyderabad had control of the game despite being a goal down before Roca brought on Liston in the second half to add more attacking verve to his side. Liston's best have come through substitute performances (vs Odisha and East Bengal), when the wiry dribbler has taken on some tired defenders.

Liston Colaco set up two assists in the win over East Bengal. - ISL/Sportzpics

On Tuesday, Liston played a part in all three goals, when he won the free-kick for the first before he set up the second (Santana) and third (Narzary). Explaining the decision to bring him on at the start of the second half, Roca said, "I know that he is a very important player for us. But you know how injuries are. We have to be careful with the injuries because we have only three foreigners. Liston is very important but maybe he is at his best when the other team is tired. I think he is very powerful. If you remember, in our first game against Odisha FC, he entered in the 60th minute and was very important for the win."

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