Indian Super League champions Hyderabad FC began their 131st Indian Oil Durand Cup campaign with a dominating 2-0 win over local favourites Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC at the Khuman Lampak stadium in Imphal.
This was TRAU’s second successive loss in the tournament. In the Group C encounter in Monday’s first game, Hyderabad scored two splendid goals through Halicharan Narzary in the 27th minute and Borja Herrera in the 52nd minute to seal three points.
TRAU FC, which were coming in after a 1-3 loss to rival Neroca FC in their opening game, started the brighter of the two sides. They controlled possession and looked for openings in the Hyderabad defence.
However, once they did, they started to stitch passes together and created chances. The first real chance came for Hyderabad when local lad Mohammed Yasir’s shot was directed straight at the keeper.
They took the lead in the 27th minute through a quality Halicharan Narzaray strike. It was Spaniard Borja’s pressing that forced an error from the TRAU FC midfield and the loose ball was latched on to by Halicharan, who curled a spectacular shot from distance into the top right corner of the post.
Hyderabad FC slowed down the game after the goal but there was a lack of intention from the home players to get back the ball as well as the goal seemed to have deflated them.
Hyderabad FC took complete control of the proceedings in the second half, as they continued to play the attractive football that took them to the ISL summit last season. The second goal also came through a screamer in the 52nd minute through Borja, who was rightly declared the Man of the Match. Mohammed Yasir found him from the right and the Spaniard took a sublime first touch to then produce a left footed into the top corner.
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Hyderabad FC continued to maintain total control of the game and created a host of chances but could not convert. They hit the bar at least twice without luck. Coach Manolo Marquez brought on his regulars for the last half hour which totally shut down the game for TRAU FC.
With the victory, Hyderabad FC will face Chennaiyin FC on August 26 while TRAU FC will face Army Red Football Team on August 28.