SC East Bengal's playoff hopes took a massive hit following their 1-1 draw with Hyderabad FC in the 91st match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL). Bright Enobakhare broke the deadlock in the 59th minute before Aridane Santana's injury-time equalizer helped Hyderabad FC to a point.
Hyderabad FC started well and earned a free-kick in a promising position, but Liston Colaco failed to keep it on target. The Nizams pressed consistently and maintained possession even though they failed to manufacture an opening.
At the other end, SC East Bengal’s right wing-back Ankit Mukherjee was guilty of delaying his cross, allowing Akash Mishra to clear the ball after Daniel Fox played a fantastic diagonal ball. Mishra then glided past several SC East Bengal defenders, but his shot only hit the side netting.
SC East Bengal goalkeeper Subrata Paul then came up with a sensational save after Lluis Sastre released Joel Chianese through on goal. Bright Enobakhare slowly started to show his skills, but Hyderabad FC marked him well to minimize the danger. After the cooling break, Chianese set up Sastre for a shot, but the Spaniard blazed it over the target.
Soon, Liston then played a through ball for Asish Rai, but Daniel Fox rescued SC East Bengal with a sliding clearance. A few minutes later, Laxmikant Kattimani was forced to come up with a couple of saves after Ankit Mukherjee stole the ball from Chinglesana’s feet. Ankit’s initial shot was saved by Kattimani’s feet, while the right wing-back headed the rebound straight at the goalkeeper. Kattimani was called into action once again to parry Anthony Pilkington’s well-struck shot over the crossbar.
SC East Bengal started the second-half well with Ankit Mukherjee’s dangerous cross taking a deflection before settling into Kattimani’s hands. The Kolkata giants eventually scored in the 59th minute as Bright slotted the ball past an onrushing Kattimani after he got the better of Chinglensana and co. A Raju Gaikwad clearance was headed forward by Pilkington to set up the chance.
Seconds later, Akash Mishra struck a low shot from distance, but Subrata Paul pushed it away for a corner. The referee waved away calls for a penalty after Halicharan Narzary went down following a collision with Sarthak Golui. Hyderabad FC thought they had the equalizer in the 73rd minute when Aridane Santana tapped the ball into the back of net, but the linesman raised his flag for off-side. Aridane then swung a shot just wide of goal after receiving a Liston Colaco cross at the edge of the box.
SC East Bengal were also denied a penalty when Bright went down after Kattimani made contact with his trailing foot. Just when it looked like the ISL debutants would close out a 1-0 victory, Hyderabad FC equalized through their skipper Aridane Santana. Substitute Rohit Danu’s neat pass into the box found Fran Sandaza, who set up Aridane. The Spaniard scored to make it 1-1 and helped his side pick up a valuable point.
Who was the Hero of the Match?
Hyderabad FC left-back Akash Mishra bagged the Hero of the Match award for his performance at both ends of the pitch. Although he couldn't manufacture a good shot, Akash made some fantastic forward runs.
The former Indian Arrows player was defensively sound as always, making three interceptions and as many tackles. The 20-year-old also maintained a passing accuracy of 87.8%, despite put under pressure by the SC East Bengal forwards.