Updated: Dec 16, 2020
Panaji, Dec 15: In an eventful game against Hyderabad FC at Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Tuesday, SC East Bengal suffered a 2-3 defeat despite attacking midfielder Jacques Maghoma netting a brace to end their four-match goalless run. For Hyderabad FC, forward Aridane Santane struck two goals in quick time and Halicharan Narzary scored the other to hand them their second win of the season and ensure that their unbeaten record remained intact.
Having restricted Jamshedpur FC to a 0-0 draw in their last outing at the same venue five days back, SCEB Head Coach Robbie Fowler made just one change to his starting XI against Hyderabad, as CK Vineeth replaced Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who’s serving a one-match suspension. This was SCEB’s fifth fixture and third ‘away’ game of the season.
Playing in their white-and-blue kit, SCEB’s backline was put to test by the ‘home’ side early on as they dominated possession in the first quarter and looked to make frequent inroads into SCEB’s 18-yard area. The Nizams got close to scoring in the 13th minute when Nikhil Poojary charged towards the SCEB box from the left and attempted a shot that ricocheted off SCEB custodian Debjit Majumder and was cleared away by Md Irshad.
Aridane Santana, who didn’t feature for HFC in their last game against ATK Mohun Bagan, had his first attempt on goal in the 19th minute when his header off a curling corner by Hitesh Sharma was thwarted by a routine save from Debjit.
However, it was SCEB who got themselves on the scoresheet first, and thereby registered their maiden Hero ISL goal, in the 26th minute as Jacques Maghoma found the back of the net with a clinical left-footed finish against the run of play to beat Subrata Pal at near post. Midfielder Matti Steinmann provided the assist with a square pass inside the opposition box, which, in turn, came off an Anthony Pilkington through ball.
Hyderabad failed to slot in the equalizer a couple of minutes later as an unmarked Nikhil Poojary couldn’t keep his header on target that came off a neatly placed Md Yasir cross from the left flank.
The end-to-end first half action reached its climax in the 45th minute when a Sehnaj Singh challenge on Md Yasir inside SCEB’s box gave the ‘home’ side a penalty. Aridane Santana stepped up to take the spot-kick, but was denied a goal by Debjit who anticipated the ball and dived in the right direction to pull off a sensational save.
SCEB had a chance to go 2-0 up at the halfway mark but couldn’t capitalize on it as CK Vineeth’s shot went off target in the first-half added time.
Hyderabad continued to build up attacks from the outset of the second half as they looked to breach the SCEB defense, but couldn’t get past Debjit till the 55th minute.
In the 56th minute, however, HFC scored the equalizer as a perfectly placed free-kick by Yasir inside the SCEB box had Santana get the faintest of touches on it with a header to slot it in.
The Spanish forward doubled the lead in the space of a few seconds as he pounced on a low cross at the far post sent by substitute Liston Colaco and scored his fourth goal of the season in the process.
The hosts’ third goal came in the 68th minute when Halicharan Narzary comfortably slotted in a precise cross at the far post from Colaco , who charged towards the SCEB box to provide his second assist of the night.
The visitors were able to reduce the deficit in the 81st minute when Maghoma scored his second goal—this time with a powerful header off an Anthony Pilkington free-kick to beat Subrata Pal at near post.
Hyderabad managed to hold on to their lead till the final whistle and Aridane Santana was adjudged the Player of the Match.
SC East Bengal play Kerala Blasters FC next, at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim on December 20.