New season, same story

New season, same story

Chirag United Kerala post 1-0 win over revitalised HASC at home

Despite bossing possession, which was the norm for much of the home games last season, converting that into chances and chances into goals is something that HASC still hasn’t clearly learnt and that profligacy was duly punished by Chirag United Kerala as they ran out winners by a solitary goal.

One of HASC’s most reliable players -- goalkeeper P Pramod -- made a hash of what should have been a routine clearance to hand Chirag an early lead, a lead which they held on comfortably to consign the home side to their first defeat of the season.

Chirag started the better of the two sides, with the Aircraftmen, playing with four debutants in the starting lineup, taking some time to get to grips with the pace of the game.

After an early chance, created by the impressive Saba Saleel, was sent narrowly wide by the equally impressive Vineeth CK, the winner arrived in the 14th minute.

Pramod failed to deal with a long pass from Chirag defender Jagdeep Singh, after being caught in two minds to clear it with his feet or take a step back and gather it with his hands. In the moment of uncertainty, the ball slipped out of his grasp and gave Vineeth the easy opportunity of slotting into an open net.

HASC, grew into the game in the second quarter of the first half, but despite having bags and bags of possession the two teams went into the break with Chirag goalkeeper Sharath K not having to make a single save.

The big crowd wanted the local outfit to come all guns blazing in the second 45 minutes and for a few moments it seemed like the equaliser was coming. A Hamza, who has been criticised for his finishing ability, found himself with just the goalkeeper to beat after a nice through pass from right back Chandandeep Singh, but the Nigerian fluffed his shot wide.

RC Prakash was brought on with twenty minutes to go and the former National player could have made himself a hero right at the death, but for some alert defending by the Chirag backline.

New signing Alksandar Sujdovic, however, was not given a chance and HASC manager Muralidharan said he had doubts about the Serbian striker’s capabilities.

“He’s not upto the mark yet. We gave him some chances in the Federation Cup, but he failed to impress. We just did not think today was the right time to introduce him,” he explained.

“We will give him some chances definitely, there are plenty of games still to come. But if he does not do well, we will release him and look to sign someone else in January,” a visibly disappointed Muralidharan added.

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