THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Hyderabad FC strike late to rescue a point against Bengaluru FC

ISL Indian Super League

Bengaluru FC were left to rue missed chances, including one to go top of the Indian Super League table as Hyderabad FC rescued a point in a 1-1 draw at the GMC Balayogi Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Friday. Robin Singh’s injury-time goal cancelled out Sunil Chhetri’s early strike, and meant the Blues were winless in three games on the road. The result left Cuadrat’s side with 10 points on the table – level with ATK and Jamshedpur, who will play each other later this week.

Earlier, Cuadrat rolled a Bengaluru side that was unchanged from their 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters on Saturday. Chhetri kept his place in attack, accompanied by Udanta and Ashique on the flanks, while Erik Paartalu, Dimas Delgado and Raphael Augusto manned the Bengaluru midfield. Bengaluru were buoyed by the early goal, but with the wealth of possession and shots on target, should have been up by a bigger margin.

Chhetri got the Blues off to a flier in the 2nd minute when his side pressed and forced Kamaljit Singh into a weak clearance. With green shirts charging down on all options, defender Laldanmawia panicked and his weak pass was picked up by the Bengaluru captain who shrugged off Gurtej Singh, and placed the ball past Kamaljit to make it 1-0.

It was all Bengaluru soon after as Hyderabad kept affording an experienced Blues midfield space and time that Chhetri, Udanta Singh and Ashique Kuruniyan were benefiting the most from. Bengaluru’s dominance only grew with the game and Augusto – if he hadn’t fired wide – should have had a brace to his name by the end of the half. Teed up by Ashique, the Brazilian cut past his marker but his effort ruffled Kamaljit’s side netting.

Frustratingly for Bengaluru, they had yet another refereeing error go against them. Khabra’s low cross in the box struck Gurtej’s arm as the Hyderabad defender slid in anticipation of the pass. Referee Ajit Kumar Meitei, however, chose to turn his back on Bengaluru pleas for a penalty.

Down a goal, the hosts had a steeper mountain to climb ten minutes into the second half when Sahil Panwar was sent off for a last-ditch tackle on Udanta who was clear on goal. The hosts could have seen another player given his marching orders just moments later when Marcelinho’s studs-up challenge caught the shin of Augusto, but Meitei chose to brandish only a yellow card for what seemed like a certain sending off.

Bengaluru continued to push forward, with chances from Chhetri and Udanta going wide before Cuadrat introduced Kean Lewis, withdrawing Ashique. Augusto came close to making it 2-0 moments with his shot saved by the legs of Kamaljit in the Hyderabad goal. Cuadrat then sent on young Edmund Lalrindika to replace Udanta. The hosts made a change of their own, sending on Robin to replace Rafa Lopez with less than 10 minutes left to play.

Phil Brown’s final roll of the dice would prove a crucial moment. After earning himself a caution for a harsh challenge on Gurpreet, Robin would go on to score the equalizer. Substitute Asish Rai was found in space down the right flank by Marko Stankovic, and the winger’s shot had to be tipped into a dangerous area by Gurpreet, allowing Robin to tap home from close range. Bengaluru’s attempt to find a winner in the dying moments saw Cuadrat send on Semboi Haokip in place of Augusto, but it wasn’t to be as it ended all square in Hyderabad.

Bengaluru travel to Pune next, where they will face Odisha FC on December 4th.

(Bengaluru FC)