|Posted on November 9, 2019 at 10:05 AM|
HFC Media File Picture
To say the least that football is a strange game proves to be a repeated theme for Hilderinc FC, as they looked to have been handed the longsuffering character part yet again, rather than the prevailing protagonist when they came undeservedly short against Rivals FC in the ESPZEN Saturday League Division 1.
Like from the pages of an Alfred Hitchcock plot, HFC had a day eerily parallel to the one they had last week against Fighting Cocks FC, the only dissimilarity being the Blacks had the plum numbers while the opponents had one on the bench, a situation well empathised by the men in black, though putting into perspective, the squad comprised of five from Hilderinc Twā, the Blacks’ Sunday team, couple of debutants, and two more who were returning to the side following lengthy injury and work induced layoffs.
The opening minutes were tentative between two sides, who can count eventful encounters over the years as they usually serve up high scoring games, though the Rivals have had the boosting rights in recent times.
Just as the Blacks were finding their stride, they were forced into an early change when Sergey Darvoskikh was withdrawn with an hamstring compliant, forcing Samuel Lalramnghaka into the rightback slot while Kevin McCullagh was handed an earlier than planned bow in the colours.
With both teams locked in a midfield skirmish, there was little opportunities for both the keepers to be tested, though Liao Jincai, called upon in the absence of the suspended Christopher Mark, had to be the more alert of the two, even when the Hilderincs were on the front foot for extended periods going into the water break.
Recognising fault-lines in the opponents, the Blacks made couple of changes to personnel and approach to effect the game, and it took less than a minute from the restart to pay dividends when Nico Olvera made an instant impact off the bench, lifting the ball into the back of the net after receiving a perfectly weighted pass from Samuel Lalramnghaka following a flowing move involving highly impressive Joel See and Gabriel Magalhães.
Within two minutes of taking the lead, the Hilderincs nearly doubled their advantage when Dionisis Kolokotsas was unfortunate not to score a goal of the season contender, when his long freekick was tipped onto the crossbar by the fully stretched Rivals keeper.
Despite their industrious crisp passing attacking intent, the Blacks were left frustrated to let the Rivals draw level after failing to deal with the second phase of the cornerkick, just as they looked to have cleared the danger.
On parity in score and play approaching the halfway mark, the Hilderincs were livid when they found themselves behind against the run of play when yet again they were caught napping for another highly preventable goal.
Not wallowing, the Blacks’ response was swift, and they thought they had equalised through Nico Olvera’s thumping freekick, but the Rivals keeper, who yet again proved to be the difference when he palmed away the belter, while Dionisis Kolokotsas’ follow up chip was headed away before it dropped into the back of the net, before the former’s shot from the subsequent corner took a huge deflection as it looked to creep in on the blindside.
For all their effort, the Hilderincs were curiously trailing after they had taken the lead for the second time in as many weeks.
With not everyone completely up to speed, the Blacks regulated their numbers, and there was a welcomed return by Sebastian Eraso, whose tenacity has been sorely missed, as an early goal was an immediate target for HFC, and they laid down the marker with Logaraj Sundram firing the first shot of the second half, which sailed past the post.
Virtually encamped inside the Rivals half for the opening quarter, the Hilderincs were relentless with their high press, and the Blacks came inches from the leveller when the effervescent Samuel Lalramnghaka struck the crossbar with a long ranger screamer, and though Gabriel Magalhães put the rebound away, he was called offside by the referee.
Undeterred, the Hilderincs were finally rewarded for their persistence with a goal that was worked from the back to front following a five player move, with Magalhães clipping a pass into the path of Sebastian Eraso, who hit the ball with such venom that it almost ripped the net.
As when the Blacks were on the ascendency, their wings were harshly clipped when they were penalised for a foul inside the box, the validity of it to be left to the video replays to debate on, and the Rivals retaking the lead from the spot with under 15 minutes left on the clock, again exactly like the inexplicable situation they found themselves in just a week ago.
With the clock ticking, the Hilderincs pulled all the stops and Adrien Kwong’s well-struck shot was frantically held on by the goalkeeper to deny another comeback, and even at this point, no one would have bet against the Blacks from clawing their way back.
But with bodies committed, the Hilderincs’ fight was finally put to death as Rivals scored further two very late goals, and they even had time to miss a penalty, to consign the Blacks to a defeat that was cruel and completely unmerited.
However, while the result would hurt, the Blacks look, gradually, like their usual persuasive self, though they will have to carry on with the improvement without a stable side, as they will have to shuffle their pack again in the coming weeks, but new additions in Joel See, Sam Bignell and Kevin McCullagh will add to their endeavours, as they look to be at the threshold of a massive upturn.
Hilderinc FC 2 : Rivals FC 5
Goal: Nico Olvera 21’, Sebastian Eraso 58’
MOM: Samuel Lalramnghaka
Yellow Card: Sunny Tharidu
1. Liao “JC” Jincai
2. Sergey Darvoskikh
3. Dionisis Kolokotsas
4. Sunny Tharidu
5. Joel See
6. Samuel Lalramnghaka
7. Diogo Baptista
8. Sam Bignell
9. Logaraj Sundram
10. Ian Morris
11. Gabriel Magalhães
12. Adrien Kwong
13. Darren Tan
14. Jegan Krishanmoorthy
15. Justin Chua
16. Kevin McCullagh
17. Nico Olvera
18. Sebastian Eraso
Categories: Match Day