Hyderabad: ATK Mohun Bagan kept their hopes of reaching the ISL final alive by holding defending champions Hyderabad FC to a goalless draw at home. As a result of this draw, in the second leg of the second semi-final, the green-maroon army may come down mentally ahead of the home field.
Mohun Bagan E managed two of the easiest goals of the match despite not scoring a goal at the GMC Balayogi Stadium on Thursday. If Pritam Kotal and Manbir Singh had scored these two goals, they could have left the field with a smile of victory on their faces. The green-maroon brigade did not make the same mistakes they made in the first leg of the semi-finals last season. As a result, this time they will be able to enter the field mentally ahead in the return semi-final at home.
On this day, if the first half belongs to Hyderabad, the second half must belong to Mohun Bagan. While Hyderabad had two shots on goal before the break, Mohun Bagan took one on target. But at the end of the match it can be seen that Mohun Bagan’s number of shots on goal increased to seven. Hyderabad could only manage one more shot in the second half.
Even though their Nigerian goal machine Bartholomew Ogbech was on the field for the last half hour, he was kept under such close watch by the Mohun Bagan defense that he could not create a single goal scoring opportunity. Ogbeche could not take a single shot on goal. While Hyderabad created 11 scoring chances, Mohun Bagan managed seven. But the defense of both the teams was completely successful in keeping a clean sheet on this day.
Both teams entered the field today with one change in the first team. This saw Mohun Bagan replace Ashiq Kuruniyan with Liston Colaso in the starting eleven. Even after returning from Australia, Brendan Hamill was seen in the dugout today. Chinglensana Singh replaced Nim Dorji in Hyderabad’s first XI today.
After testing Mohun Bagan in the first five minutes of the day, Hyderabad FC gradually started to increase the attack. Joel Chianiz could have scored the first goal in the 11th minute. He powerfully headed in Halicaran Narjarri’s cross from the left. Just before the ball entered the goal, the green-maroon goalkeeper Vishal Kaeith dived to his right and blocked it. Within a couple of minutes, Javier Severio’s head went straight into Vishal’s hands.
From then on Severio, the Chianese, increased the intensity of the attack. They attack frequently by entering the attacking third. Pritam Kotal, Slavko Damianovic had to face a tough test to stop them. Mohun Bagan put it under such pressure that Bumous, Puitia, Colaso were virtually immobilized in the midfield. Carl McHugh continued to try. However, he often has to play down to handle the pressure. As a result, the attack could not be effective.
In the first half hour they tried to turn around after heavy pressure but they did not succeed. The green-maroon army was not found in that strong mood. Under pressure, the green-maroon footballers also played a lot of wrong passes, as a result of which they could not create attacking space.
Despite this pressure, however, the opportunity that the Kolkata team got after 38 minutes was missed, so it can be understood that it was not their day. Subhashis Bose almost set up a goal for Pritam when he headed a Dimitrios Petrats floater from outside the box. Pritam went in front of the goal line and stepped on it but the ball bounced back against the bar.
Mohun Bagan started the second half with a plan to put the opposition under pressure from the start and they executed that plan. At the end of 52 minutes, Ashish Rai took the ball from the leg of Narzari and entered the box and took a shot at the goal, but it was blocked by Gurmeet Singh, the goalkeeper of Hyderabad. Before that, Petras took a shot at the goal from outside the box after 49 minutes. But it goes straight to the keeper.
Hyderabad footballers also read. It can be said that even if Mohun Bagan did not score on this day, they were completely successful in their vow not to score. In the very last minute of the match, Petras took a long-range shot from outside the opponent’s box. But Gurmeet easily reached the ball. Ogbechede can be seen breathing a sigh of relief after losing at home.
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