Erratic HASC fall yet again

Football I-League

If a football game were to end in 45 minutes, Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club would have picked up their first win of this season’s I-League. Unfortunately, Air India played a wonderful second 45, which produced three goals, to send the Aircraftmen crashing to a 2-4 defeat at the Bangalore Football stadium on Sunday.

In a game of two halves, a brace from Manjeet Singh and one apiece from Henry Ezeh and Sandesh Ghadkari nullified Malemngamba Meitei and Aleksandar Sujdovic’s efforts. With the loss, HASC stay rooted at the bottom with one point from six matches while Air India climbed to seventh with 10 from six.
“We are very disappointed. We had so many chances to kill the game off in the first half but we did not take them,” a crestfallen HASC manager M Muralidharan said.
“No excuses for how we played in the second half. We just have to go back to the training ground and ensure that we play the full 90 minutes well.

“We really needed the three points today and we can’t keep playing like this. We need to find a solution soon,” he added.

The home side could not have asked for a better start to the game. After some good interplay between Chandandeep Singh and Vinoth Kumar on the right, the latter whipped in a brilliant left-footed cross to the far post, which Meitei headed in. Pumped up by the early goal, the Aircraftmen looked to press home their advantage, but were hit by a sucker punch. A Manjeet freekick from the far left seemed to evade a crowd of players but the slightest of touches by Manandeep inside the box saw the ball nestle into the far corner of the net, much to the disbelief of the home crowd.

The Bangalore side responded well, going close two minutes later. A good cross from Bijoy Das saw A Hamza left all alone with just goalkeeper Pawan Kumar to beat. The Nigerian, who has been severely criticised for his profligacy, could only manage a tame shot straight at Pawan.

Hamza, however, made up for it quickly orchstrating HASC’s second goal in the 20th minute. Taking the ball off a quick throw-in, Hamza cut inside from the right and laid a nicely weighted pass onto the path of Sujdovic, who was making his first start. The Serbian made no mistake, slotting it calmly past the goalkeeper. The home team dominated the rest of the first half and should have increased the lead by a couple more goals but for some poor finishing from their strikers.

The second half was a completely different story with Air India, who had been caught napping a couple of times for holding a high line, tightening their defence and along with that unleashing their potent offence. The equaliser came off a goalkeeper’s howler in the 57th minute. A harmless looking freekick from Manjeet was utterly misjudged by P Pramod, who let the ball go over his head and into the back of the net.

It all then fell apart fifteen minutes from time when the opportunistic Ezeh struck off a corner from eight yards out. Substitute Ghadkari then made it 4-2 in the 90th minute to end any hopes of a HASC comeback.

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