Brendan Hamill and Asish Rai’s goals help Mohun Bagan Super Giant make it five league wins in a row
Defending champions Mohun Bagan Super Giant became the first side to win five consecutive ISL games in the 2023-24 season after beating Hyderabad 2-0 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. After a goalless first half, Brendan Hamill broke the deadlock before Asish Rai put the game to bed in stoppage time.
Juan Ferrando made two changes to the side that lost 2-5 to Odisha at the AFC Cup group stages as Kiyan Nassiri replaced Armando Sadiku upfront while Anirudh Thapa slotted in place of Glan Martins in the defensive midfield position.
Hyderabad made three changes to the side that lost 0-1 to Kerala Blasters. Nim Dorjee Tamang replaced Mexican defender Oswaldo Alanis in the heart of defense while Joao Victor returned to the starting line-up replacing Mohammed Rafi in the defensive midfield position and Makhan Chothe took the position of Costa Rican Jonathan Moya in the wings.
The Mariners got their first breakthrough in the 15th minute when Sahal Abdul Samad released Jason Cummings on the left flank with a perfectly weighted pass. Hyderabad goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh fisted the ball away but it only fell towards Kiyan Nassiri inside the box and Nim Dorjee Tamang had to make a lunging sliding tackle to avert the danger as the Nizams breathed a sigh of relief.
In the 26th minute, Hugo Boumous played a lovely one-two pass with Cummings inside the opposition half before feeding a pass towards Sahal and the former Kerala Blasters player unleashed a shot from distance but Gurmeet dived full stretch to punch the ball away.
Cummings capitalized on the rebound and made a pass towards Asish Rai who took a shot from distance but it went off target. Two minutes later, Sahil Tavora pushed Liston Colaco from behind as the referee awarded Mohun Bagan a free-kick at the edge of the box.
Colaco stepped up to take it and curled the ball perfectly as it dipped at the last moment but Gurmeet didn’t lose his focus and tipped the ball away as it struck the woodwork before going out of play.
Hyderabad got their first opportunity in the 35th minute when Joao Victor shielded the ball to go past the challenge of Anirudh Thapa and made a quick pass towards Mohammed Yasir. The latter picked the run of Joe Knowles who took a shot from the box but it flew past the face of the goal.
Despite coming close to scoring multiple times, the scoreline remained intact at 0-0 as both sides went into the tunnel at half-time.
In the 56th minute, Victor released Petteri Pennanen at the left flank and the latter returned the pass to the Brazilian at the edge of the box. Victor took a shot from a distance but it was off-target.
Nassiri won the ball back from Tamang in the 80th minute and played a pass towards Boumous in the final third. The Frenchman whizzed through the right wing and went for glory from the box but Gurmeet had his lines covered and the shot went off target.
Mohun Bagan’s persistent attacks finally paid dividends in the 85th minute with the move starting from Thapa dispossessing Pennanen at the halfway mark of the field. The former Chennaiyin midfielder played a pass towards Subhasish Bose who made a square pass towards Sahal.
The attacking midfielder released substitute Brendan Hamill who pierced between Chinglensana Singh and Mark Zothanpuia burying the ball into the net with a venomous strike.
Thangboi Singto’s side tried their best to pull one goal back with left-back Zothanpuia bursting forward in the fourth minute of additional time. The ball nearly went inside as Vishal Kaith didn’t have his lines covered. Luckily for him, it sailed over the crossbar.
In the fifth minute of additional time, Bose made a cross from the opposition box and Gurmeet jabbed it away. Zothanpuia made a tame clearance as Boumous got the opportunity to take a shot from the box but the 21-year-old blocked it again. The rebound fell only as far as Asish inside the box who blasted the ball into the top corner leaving Gurmeet diving for the cameras.
The eighth minute of stoppage time came to an end soon as Mohun Bagan gained the upper hand with a 2-0 win.
Hyderabad continues to languish in the bottom of the table with three draws and five losses from their first eight fixtures and faces NorthEast United on Sunday in another tough test.
On the other hand, MBSG climbed to the third spot after the win as they have 15 points in the bag after five matches and will have the chance to exact revenge on Odisha who knocked the Mariners out of the AFC Cup.