Bright Enobakhare opened the scoring just before the hour mark. Hyderabad FC equalised in the injury time through Aridane.
This draw meant ATK Mohun Bagan qualified for the play-offs.
SC East Bengal 1-1 Hyderabad FC Team News:
East Bengal’s head coach Robbie Fowler is still serving his ban. So, assistant coach Anthony Grant named an attacking side. He started with a 4-2-3-1 formation with veteran Subrata Paul at goal. Then in the defence, Sarthak, Raju Gaikwad, Danny Fox, Narayan started. Then Sourav and Steinmann started as a double pivot in front of the backline. Ankit and Maghoma played in the wing and Bright as the number 10. Pilkington was the lone striker.
On the other hand, Manuel Marquez, head coach of Hyderabad FC, started his familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. Kattimani started between the sticks. Then Ashish, Odei, Chinglensana, Akash Mishra formed the defence. Sastre and Joao Victor started as the defensive midfield duo. In front of them, Halicharan, Liston Colaco and Chianese started as the attacking midfield trio. Aridane started as the only striker.
SC East Bengal 1-1 Hyderabad FC Analysis:
Hyderabad started the game in the front foot. Akash Mishra dribbled from deep and attempted a shot that hit the side-netting. Then Chianese was played through by Sastre after the 20-minute mark. He beat the offside trap and then forced a save from Subrata. After this incident, the game was not a very pleasant watch.
Towards the end of a boring half of football, Ankit Mukherjee attempted a shot on goal after winning possession from Chinglensama. Kattimani saved the initial shot and then caught the ball from the rebound.
In the 42nd minute, Pilkington shot from some distance and forced a great save from Kattimani. This was the highlight of the half and both the teams went to the dressing room as the half-time scorecard read 0-0.
At the 59th minute, Aridane’s deflected shot hit the post and Narayan Das cleared the ball to initiate a counter. Pilkington headed the ball into the path of Bright who beat the Hyderabad defence to put the Red and Golds in front. Just minutes later Akash attempted a low drive which was saved by Subrata. But Hyderabad kept going forward and substitute Sandaza scored in the 73rd minute. However, the goal was ruled out for offside. Then Aridane volleyed from outside the box which went narrowly wide.
Aridane eventually got his reward as Sandaza teed him up to tap in the equalizing goal in the injury time. But this was not the last act of the game. Hyderabad substitute Yasir was sent off for a poor challenge with his studs up on Luwang. The resulting free-kick hit the wall and thus the game ended 1-1.
Reactions and Notable Performances:
Grant was disappointed with the result as his team conceded right at the death. This reflected in his post-match comments.
“It’s tough to concede right at the end. I thought we were always in control. It was just one instance [Santana’s late goal]. It’s harsh to take. But this shows that we are not a million miles away from competing with the teams in the top four.” – Grant following the match
Marquez was also not happy with the result as it did not help them to solidify their place in the top four. But he was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“We are nearing the end of the league stages. We have only three games left. Of course, it is difficult to win the games. We play against FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan. We will continue fighting. I am very proud because we are in the fight for the top four with three matches left.” – Marquez after the game
Akash Mishra: The fullback put in a very promising performance for Hyderabad FC. He was also an attacking threat, also doing his defensive duties properly. He got the man of the match award for his performance.
Bright: East Bengal’s new signing made his mark in the game with a goal. He was always a threat with his pace and darting runs.
Aridane: Hyderabad’s striker scored his eighth goal of the season with the last gasp equalizer. He worked really hard throughout the game and got his reward at the end.
Next East Bengal face ATK Mohun Bagan in next Friday. Hyderabad face Kerala Blasters next Tuesday.