Hyderabad FC had a Durand Cup debut to remember as they destroyed a hapless Assam Rifles 5-0 at the Mohun Bagan Stadium on Sunday. Lalchungnunga Chhangte, Abdul Rabeeh, Rohlupuia and Arunkumar Singh were on the scoresheet in this Group D game of the Durand Cup 2021.
Assam Rifles had already conceded four goals in their previous game against Army Red. After Hyderabad FC’s scintillating first-half display, the Rifles were left staring down the barrel again.
Durand Cup 2021: Hyderabad FC score 4 in the first half hour against Assam Rifles
The first chance fell to Rohlupuia in the 2nd minute after a slip from Assam Rifles defender Tashi Bhutia. The Hyderabad FC man was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but managed a very tame shot. Five minutes later, Chhangte raced down the left and sent the ball in for Rabeeh to tap home at the far post.
Assam Rifles fought back and won a corner in the 11th minute. Captain Roger Singh got on the end of the cross but his header was saved by Hyderabad goalkeeper Biaka Jongte.
Hyderabad FC doubled their lead in the 18th minute as Rabeeh returned the favor to Chhangte. It was a carbon copy of the opening goal except from the opposite side and with roles reversed.
Three minutes later, it was 3-0 and Chhangte was involved again. He burst down the left after receiving a diagonal pass from Koustav Das and sending in a cross. Rohlupuia was the one at the end of it and made no mistake with a header.
Before the half-hour mark, Hyderabad FC had inflicted even more misery on their opponents. Koustav initiated the move and a rebound from his blocked shot fell Arunkumar, who tapped in from close range.
The second half was a low-key affair compared to the goal glut in the first. Assam Rifles had a couple of outrageous long-range efforts which caught keeper Jongte slightly off guard.
A free-kick from nearly 40 yards out was hit well by Tashi and landed on the roof of the net. Just after the hour mark, midfielder Pacmensei Haokip had a go from the same distance and hit the crossbar.
Hyderabad FC were very much in cruise mode by this point and were playing on the break. Substitute Swapna had a couple of jinking runs without much joy but he won a free-kick close to the box from one of them.
Up stepped the impressive Chhangte and curled in a stunning effort into the top corner to make it 5-0.
Like Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC have also put faith in their reserve side. The young players were very impressive but their performance must be put into some perspective. Their opponents were below par and their next game against defending champions Gokulam Kerala will be a litmus test.