Pradeep strike sinks HASC

Riding on star midfielders goal, Viva Kerala post 1-0 victory

A sparse weekday crowd at the Sree Kanteerava stadium was treated to HASC’s worst home performance as they went down 0-1 to the Kerala side courtesy a brilliant goal from NP Pradeep. Viva dominated the game and HASC were lucky that they didn’t lose by a bigger margin. Viva Kerala now have fifteen points from 18 matches with HASC stuck on nineteen from 18.

Viva were on the attack right from kick-off and their players were guilty of missing a hatful of chances in the first fifteen minutes itself.  The HASC defence played too far up, allowing Viva to pile on the pressure, with Pradeep sliding through balls for the forwards. A couple of fifty-fifty offsides went HASC’s way when it could easily have been the other way around.

The deserved goal for the side from Kannur came in the eighteenth minute. Anil Kumar, who was outstanding throughout barring his finishing, laid the ball off for the oncoming Pradeep, who from 22 yards out smashed an unstoppable left-footer to the left-hand corner of the HASC goal.

If anyone expected the home side to wake up from their slumber after going a goal down -- like they did against Mohun Bagan -- it just did not happen.  Pradeep was the chief orchestrator of what was now the Viva symphony. The midfielder was spraying passes from the midfield with forwards Anil and Felix the beneficiaries of the midfielder’s vision.

The strikers though, were guilty of missing quite a few easy chances, something that Viva might have found hard to swallow had they not walked away with full three points.
At the other end, Xavier Vijaykumar, again, looked the only player who could create anything for HASC, but the midfielder was woefully short of support.

HASC’s best and only real chance came to RC Prakash, who after some good work from Xavier and J Murali, found the ball coming to him with the Viva goalkeeper out of position. Prakash though missed the target from 20 yards out.

With the victory, Viva put some breathing space between them and the bottom two teams -- Air India and ONGC. HASC though, will have a lot to work on when they take on Chirag United on Sunday.

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