It was a game to establish Southern supremacy for both teams but unfortunately, it ended up as the most underwhelming game of the season so far.

The game was mostly limited to midfield as both teams lacked imagination in the final third. Hyderabad secured their second consecutive clean sheet from as many games played, having failed to pick a single one last season and for BFC, it was a disappointing outing.

Let’s look at the top 5 talking points of the match.

Solid defensive display by both teams :

Coming to this game, Subrata Paul and Gurpreet Singh had 52 clean sheets between them and both of them added one each to their individual tally. HFC defense led by Chinglensana and Joao Victor appeared impenetrable which was evident from shots on goal statistics of Bengaluru (only 1 shot, that too off target).

BFC’s defense was solid too and the lack of pacy strikers in Hyderabad’s line-up also helped their cause. The key moment of the match was the save by Gurpreet of the header by Santana and it will probably be one of the saves of the season.

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Lack of creativity from open play haunts the Blues :

Ever since Carles Caudrat took charge as the head coach of BFC, they scored a major chunk of their goals from set pieces including the two goals they scored in the last game against the Gaurs. But, from the previous season onwards, the goals from open play dried up and it was evident from the total number of goals scored by BFC in the last season (19).

To put that into perspective, KBFC scored 29 goals even though they ended up in the bottom half of the table. Tonight also, Bengaluru lacked creativity and they looked toothless in the final third. Dimas hasn’t been what he was two seasons back and the lack of another quality playmaker is making them dependent on corners and free-kicks.

Hyderabad lacks a quality second striker:

Whenever HFC wingers barged forward with the ball, they were searching for Arindane Santana to cross the ball as if they had no other person to trust. Although it’s good to have a target man, unless someone steps up to help Arindane, it will be too tricky for HFC to find the back of the net. Today also, Arindane was heavily marked by Juanan and Fran and Nizams lacked a second forward to make use of that opportunity.

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Purposeless crosses and long-rangers by Narzary had no impact on the game other than handing over the ball to Gurpreet for a goal kick.

The young Indian contingent of HFC making their mark:

No one gave any attention to HFC’s Indian cohort other than Subrata Paul at the commencement of the season. Nevertheless, their Indian squadron has been equally effective as their foreigners.

Chinglensana Singh was instrumental in taming BFC attacks. The 24-year-old Manipuri never shied away from ariel-duels and added 7 clearances to his name. Md Yasir and Akash Rai also rose to the occasion and made an impact on the game. These Indian players, if nurtured well, can be the core of Hyderabad FC in the upcoming seasons.

The curse on Udanta continues:

It was disappointing to see a promising player like Udanta lacking the confidence to pull the trigger. He appeared like a man of no substance and was wandering all over the pitch without any purpose. Udanta used to be known for his goalscoring skills during his stint at TFA and has a decent conversion rate at BFC as well in the initial years. Let alone goals, we hardly saw him attempting for one in the past season, and the story has been the same today as well.

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To conclude, both teams need to regroup and find solutions for the lack of intent in front of the goal. As Joel Chianese may not be available for the next match, Fran Sandaza may become Roca’s automatic choice as the striker.

Carles Cuadrat may need to make changes in the starting XI and young Indians like Suresh or Ajay Chetri may have to add that X-factor missing in the midfield.

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By Sarath

How often do you see a doctor-cum-journalist? Sports took me from hospitals to stadiums.