Fatorda, Goa: A youthful Hyderabad FC, put in a solid performance against a strong ATK Mohun Bagan side, as the teams shared the spoils in an eventful night in Fatorda. Manvir Singh gave Antonio Lopez’s side a lead in the 54th minute of the game with an instinctive finish.
But Nikhil Poojary earned HFC a penalty just ten minutes later, which was converted with confidence by Joao Victor to cancel ATKMB’s goal and earn his side a point. This point takes Hyderabad to 5th in the league table, with six points from four games.
The hosts started the game with a high intensity press, that did not allow a young Hyderabad side any time on the ball. Subrata Paul was called into action on a couple of occasions, needing him to make athletic saves, within the first 20 minutes of the game.
HFC had just two overseas players in their starting XI but slowly grew into the game and ended the half strongly. Liston Colaco, Hitesh Sharma and Asish Rai stuck to their task and kept ATKMB on their toes for most of the half.
But the moment of the half came just before the referee’s whistle, as a high boot from Prabir Das caught Akash Mishra on the chin. Caught by cameras as well, the challenge was only deemed to be worthy of a caution, as Prabir was lucky to get just a yellow.
The second half saw a slightly open game, as both teams were happy to throw players in attack. The hosts took the lead when Subrata Paul’s giveaway was picked in the middle of the park and Manvir Singh sprung to life. He got lucky with a couple of deflections as he got past Odei Onaindia and Joao Victor at the edge of the box. A smart finish from the winger gave ATKMB the lead in the 54th minute.
But Hyderabad stepped up to the task, got on with the game, scoring less than 10 minutes later. Liston found space on the left and played Souvik in the middle, a few yards outside the box. The midfielder fed Nikhil Poojary on the right, who got in front of the goal scorer Manvir, drew a foul and won his side a penalty.
Joao Victor placed the ball on the spot, and though Arindam Bhattacharja went the right way, the Brazilian’s shot was too strong and high, as HFC pulled it back level.
A couple of misplaced passes in the middle of the field gave chances to both sides late in the game but Hyderabad ran the clock down well and saw out the game, to secure a well-deserved point.
Prabhir was lucky to stay on the field after his challenge on Akash but the young Hyderabad FC side put up a spirited performance on the night as they stuck to Manolo Maruqez’s plan, and could have easily taken more from this game.
HFC are back in action when they host SC East Bengal at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Tuesday, the 15th of December.