CHENNAI: Halicharan Narzary and super substitute Borja Herrera produced a ‘Goal of the Season’ contender each as Hyderabad FC recorded a 3-1 victory over a 10-man Chennaiyin FC in the southern Indian Super League face-off at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
In the second half that defending champion Hyderabad bossed, both Halicharan (65’) and Herrera (85’) came up with left-footed piledrivers from outside the area while centre-back Chinglensana Singh (74’) delivered a cool finish which strikers would be proud of. Petar Sliskovic (78’) gave the ‘Marina Arena’ crowd a ray of hope with his third ISL goal – also his third at home – but HFC ultimately made full use of the numerical advantage.
Hyderabad (19 points from 9 matches) climbed to second on the table after getting back to winning ways while Chennaiyin (10 points from 8 matches) suffered its fourth defeat of the ISL Season 9 and third loss at home.
CFC head coach Thomas Brdaric sacrificed an overseas centre-back – Vafa Hakhamaneshi – to accommodate the in-form Nasser El Khayati, who had been making a strong case to be included in the starting line-up. Gurmukh Singh was handed his first start of the ISL season and partnered stand-in skipper Fallou Diagne at the heart of the backline.
The duo kept the HFC attackers at bay until Halicharan rattled the crossbar in first half stoppage time with a crisp hit from the left. For Chennaiyin, hardworking winger Vincy Barretto was in the thick of things, coming close to breaking the deadlock twice. While his first shot flew just over the bar, his second strike was tipped over the woodwork by Hyderabad goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh.
Twenty minutes after the restart, Halicharan opened the account with a bullet strike. Hyderabad opted for a short corner that did not go to plan, but a misplaced pass from CFC left-back Aakash Sangwan, while trying to clear the ball, fell at the feet of Halicharan. The India international unleashed a rocket into the bottom right corner as HFC got on the scorecard after failing to ripple the net in its previous two matches.
In the 71st minute, things went from bad to worse for the host, with right-back Ajith Kumar sent off after collecting his second yellow card of the evening. Three minutes later, Chinglensana applied the finishing touch on the volley with his left foot after Gurmukh’s weak clearance.
Twelve minutes from time, Sliskovic reduced the deficit to one by heading home an inch-perfect El Khayati cross at the far past. But, Herrera restored a two-goal cushion for the visitor in the 85th minute. The Spanish midfielder, who came off the bench, controlled the ball and let it bounce twice before blasting it into the top left corner.
RESULT: Chennaiyin FC 1 (P Sliskovic 78) lost to Hyderabad FC 3 (Halicharan 65, Chinglensana 74, B Herrera 85)