Former Indian Super League (ISL) champion Hyderabad FC warded off a spirited second-half challenge from Bengaluru FC to settle for a one-all draw in the league match at GMC Balayogi Stadium here on Saturday.
It was an opportunistic Mohammad Yasir who put HFC ahead in the 35th minute when he showed great anticipation to pick up a long ball from his own half by Oswaldo Alanis. With great ball control, Yasir dodged past the closely marking Slavko Damjanovic and the goalkeeper to open the account for HFC to the delight of the sparse crowd.
In the 58th minute of second-half, BFC scored the equaliser through Ryan Williams’s left-footer of a beautiful short pass from the left by Halicharan Narzary.
From then, it was anybody’s game as action swung from one half to the other and the second session also witnessed both the teams messing up many scoring opportunities.
The closest BFC came to scoring the second goal was when captain Sunil Chhetri who got the better of a crowded defence but ran into an advancing custodian whom he couldn’t beat to the disappointment of his teammates.
In one of those counter-attacks, it was HFC’s turn to miss an easy scoring chance when Jonathan Moya’s header of a curling cross from the left by Mark Zothanpuia just missed the target in the 73rd minute.
Even in the dying seconds, BFC had another chance of scoring but Francisco Xavier’s left-footer from close to the goalline was off target.
Earlier, it was a story of missed chances for both the teams in the first-half as the match began on an even note with action swinging from one half to the other frequently.
HFC would have shot into the lead in the 14th minute but midfielder Joao Viktor fumbled badly on top of the circle as he ended up with a feeble left-footer which was easily saved by the goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
For BFC, the combination of Halicharan Narzary, captain Sunil Chhetri, Slavko Damjanovic and Suresh Singh Wangjam worked in tandem, often threatening to score but invariably ran into a solid HFC defence.
In fact, it was BFC which could have shot into lead in the 33rd minute but the speedy Sunil Chhetri who ran down the left-flank to position himself perfectly for a long ball from the centre, only ended up in essaying a none-too-powerful left-footer on the run only to see custodian HFC custodian Gurmeet palm away to safety.
Within two minutes, it was HFC which shot into the lead thanks to the enterprising Mohammed Yasir and importantly hung on to the slender lead despite a few decent attempts by the BFC forward line.