Football: Hyderabad thrash Assam Rifles 5-0, Gokulam Kerala held 2-2 by Army (Red)
Kolkata, September 12, 2021
Playing an all-out game, youthful Hyderabad FC thrashed Assam Rifles 5-0 while defending champions Gokulam Kerala muffed chances galore and were held to a 2-2 by Army (Red) in their opening Durand Football Cup matches on Sunday.
Playing at the Mohun Bagan Ground here, Hyderabad dominated the match from the start. Lalchungnunga Chhangte (18', 89') was the star of the show as he netted a brace while bagging two assists as well. Abdul Rabeeh (7'), Rohlupuia (21') and Arun Kabrabam (27') were the other scorers.
The three points earned took Hyderabad to second place in the Group D standings behind Army Red who stay atop with four points from two games, after their 2-2 draw with Gokulam Kerala .
Hyderabad took the lead just seven minutes into the game. Chhangte started it all off with a peach of a ball for Abdul Rabeeh to score from a tap-in. He scored minutes later, with Rabeeh this time turning the supplier.
Hyderabad were 2-0 up 18 minutes into the game and it only got better. Chhangte picked up his second assist of the day as his cross gave Rohlupuia an easy finish from six yards out. A rampant Hyderabad side was in no mood to give up as five minutes later, striker Arun Kabrabam made the most of a spill from the keeper, to score his first goal of the Durand Cup, giving Hyderabad their fourth goal.
The youngsters managed the game well till the break and even after, as they put in a solid performance to keep Lalbiakhlua Jongte’s goal away from danger. Chhangte topped off his eventful outing with probably the goal of the day as he scored an inch-perfect freekick from 20-yards out to round off a dominating display by Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, at Kalyani, Gokulam Kerala shared points as they played a 2-2 draw with Army Red team. The Malabarians started on a positive note, courtesy a spectacular goal from long-range by Ghanaian Rahim Osumanu but failed to capitalize in the later stages.
Gokulam secured the lead in the 9th minute as Rahim scored a stunner. However, a major turning point came as Gokulam Kerala goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar collided with Army Red's Mukesh Kumar and Ajmal PA had to take Rakshit’s place.
The momentum of the game changed after that as Jain P quickly scored the equalizer for the regimental side. Minutes before half time, Bikash Thapa scored the second for Army Red and they had the all-important lead going into the second half.
Gokulam played an attacking game in the second half and even had a brilliant opportunity to score when their captain Sharif M Mohammad’s shot missed the target by a small margin and went over the crossbar onto the nets. He made up for it though later, courtesy a penalty.
The Malabarians had several close chances in the final quarter but failed to convert any. Army Red leads Group D with 4 points.