Written By: Aswathy Santhosh, Eranakulam
It was a night to remember at the GMC Bambolim Stadium when we earned our first win of the season. The day everyone was waiting for and it was worth the wait. The line-up was a shocker to the fans, with only three foreigners on the field, as we used an all Indian backline. Abdul Hakku our local hero made his first start of the season as he paired up with Sandeep Singh, Nishu and Jessel. Following the impressive performance against SC East Bengal, Jeakson Singh also made his way to the starting eleven along with Sahal Abdul Samad. Kibu’s decision to go with three foreigners against a dynamic team like Hyderabad FC was very surprising as we became the first team to use an all Indian backline this season.
We started the match with the determination to win and it was evident from the gameplay. The players did exactly what the coach told them and it paid off in the 29th minute. Our local boy Hakku delivered an inch-perfect header into the net from a corner taken by Facundo Pereyra. Facundo is a set-piece specialist, providing accurate balls into the box most of the time. Sahal and Rahul played well and they were constantly switching wings to confuse their defence. Sahal played as a wide number 10 on the left-wing and he lived up to the expectations of the fans. Jeakson was phenomenal. He is one for the future, he was very clear on the decisions he takes which also helped Vicente to play comfortably without any confusion. Jeakson was everywhere, when he moved up Vicente took charge of protecting the defence.
When Costa and Kone missed the game due to injuries, Hakku and Sandeep took the responsibility and kept our goal safe. Hakku is brilliant in aerial duels meanwhile Sandeep is calm and composed in one on one situations. Jessel Carneiro captained the team for the first time and he did everything a captain should do. Jessel and Nishu contributed well to attack as well as defence. In the absence of Gary Hooper, Kibu used Jordan Murray as the first-choice striker and he look a constant threat in the opponents half. He took many shots but were denied by Subrata and in the 88th minute, his efforts gave the results. Jordan took advantage of a loose ball inside the box and placed it into the net beautifully. Our boys fought hard till the last moment to keep the scoreline intact. Two-nil to a very vibrant side felt unreal. Our boys fought hard to claim our first win and keep a clean sheet. Albino stood tall in front of our net throughout the match. Our boys were obligated to try, they did and took home three points.
Next up against Mumbai City FC, a strong side with the same philosophy to keep the ball. It is going to be a tough match but we never give up. A win and three points will take us to the 8th position on the points table and we will try for that. Yennum Yellow