Prayag clip HASC wings

Kolkata side posts 2-0 win over patchy Aircraftmen

Prayag midfielder Denson Devdas set up two goals for striker Kayne Vincent, which saw the Kolkata side score a 2-0 victory over a beleaguered home team at the Bangalore Football stadium. HASC, who saw two glorious chances missed by A Hamza, were lacklustre for much of the game, thanks largely to the strange tactics of their coaching staff.

The Aircraftmen began the game with defensive midfielder Sudheesh Muttath starting in place of the injured RC Prakash. HASC started well and even created a couple of chances but Prayag defended extremely well for much of the game, keeping out most of the home team’s crosses.

The first goal came in the 9th minute, thanks to the brilliance of Prayag vice-captain Denson. The Kerala midfielder, after taking a pass from Lukram James Singh, showed great vision to play a through ball with the outside of his left foot to Vincent, who calmly slotted it past goalkeeper P Pramod. That goal, however, could have been nullified a couple of minutes later had Hamza shown a bit more composure.

A nice pass from Ajit Kumar saw Hamza in a one-on-one situation with Prayag goalkeeper Somnath Khara. Hamza did the first part well, rounding the ’keeper, but when he had an open goal at his mercy, he managed to only hit the post.

At the half-hour mark HASC manager Muralidharan, in a puzzling move, substituted Sudheesh with defender Lilliyan Kennath making HASC, who were a goal down, even more defensive minded.

HASC’s second strange substitution came early in the second half. Central defender Biju Kumar got injured after landing awkwardly and instead of taking the opportunity to introduce an attacking player, Biju was substituted by defensive midfielder Goutham Debnath, though HASC had a readymade replacement in Kennath already on the field.
“We wanted to stop Prayag forwards from controlling the game, which is why we brought in Kennath in the first half,” Muralidharan said. “After Biju got injured, Goutham came in and helped us control the midfield,” he reasoned.

Despite the defensive mindset, an equaliser, however, should have come in the 70th minute, but Hamza fluffed an easy header from six yards out. HASC huffed and puffed for the next ten minutes but the match ended as a contest, six minutes from time. Denson again played a brilliant through ball to Vincent who had only Pramod to beat. The New Zealander this time tried to round the ’keeper, but in the process was brought down by Pramod, leaving referee Franky Fernandes no choice but to point to the spot. The penalty was easily dispatched by Vincent, giving his team a second-straight win.

“If Hamza had scored those goals it could have been a different result, but overall we put up a poor show today,” Muralidharan admitted.

HASC now have ten days to lick their wounds before they host Air India on November 20.

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