|Posted on October 5, 2015 at 3:05 AM|
HFC Media Online Publication
Hilderinc FC took a huge step to rectify their campaign after an inconspicuous beginning, which left them straddling at the bottom of the relegation zone, first time in their history, for eight of the opening eleven weeks since the start of the ESPZEN Sunday League 23 season.
Enduring a disconcerting start since last season’s promotion, much of it without consistency in player configuration, when weekly ersatz in key position had a telling effect on the performance and results alike.
However, having played the least number of games in comparison to others in the Division, there was significant potential to make their current league standing illusory, especially when their fellow competitors were cancelling each other out with mixed results.
Having the prospect of their campaign in their own hands to move towards an upward trajectory, the Blacks were in authoritative focus when they took on their perennial rivals, Predators FC.
With the sting of their 4-0 defeat in the reverse fixture in August still festering, the Blacks, led by captain for the day, Shuichi Narita, in his final curtain call for the Hilderincs before his return to Japan, were imperious from the first whistle.
Between fourteen passes from kickoff to a temporary break in play, the Blacks were in the lead by the 2nd minute after Rama Witjaksono’s long through ball from his own half to Gabir Nabil, was put away into the back of the net by the Egyptian for his fourth goal of the season in all competition, for a perfect start for the visitors.
Attempts by the Predators to respond to the early disadvantage was only met by an indifferent backline of Denis Lobov, Nicolas Ledenmark, Shuichi Narita and Alex Wong, who not only keep them at bay, but threaten to open the floodgates further with their keen eye for goal producing assists.
Congregating in the Predators’ half, bulwark-ed by the industry of Rama Witjaksono and Sunny Tharidu, the Blacks looked to run away with the tie, as Serhat Dalbeyler and Nicolas Amstutz, who were making their competitive debuts for the Hilderincs, along with Sashikumar Mahathevan and Gabir Nabil, were irresistible with their interplay.
Though the Predators might have a made the outcome of the game different had their forwards been less forgiving when they were presented with goal scoring opportunities, as the Blacks were let off the hook more than once after momentary lapse of concentration.
Still, there was no denying the Hilderincs of their attacking aptitude, as they came close to extending their lead through efforts from Denis Lobov, Alex Wong, Nicolas Amstutz and Shuichi Narita, who could have capped his farewell with a well headed goal.
None came closer than Gabir Nabil, who was denied no less than a hat trick when he was kept from extending his account for the day with the combination of the woodwork and a worldclass save from the Predators’ keeper, but on another day, would have easily taken the match ball home.
The Hilderincs, with their much craved luxury of quality and quantity on the bench finally restored, did well to keep the squad refreshed with tactical substitutions which had Mitchell Keh, Bayu Tanmizi and Logaraj Sundram presented progressively.
And it was the latter who almost got his name on the scoresheet with only his second touch, minutes of his introduction.
Set up by Gabir Nabil and through on goal, Logaraj was unfortunate to see his shot cannon off the crossbar, with the keeper well beaten for the count.
For all the blistering performance in the first half, it was somewhat an innocuous restart as the Hilderincs took a caution approach in the second period, allowing the Predators to come in search for the equaliser.
If the first half was about their attacking propensity, the second was about the Blacks’ technical ability to play a controlled game; but while not flamboyant, it was effective in countering the opponents’ intent.
With much of the play concentrated in the middle of the park and peppered by the referee’s whistle for stoppages, both teams found less fluidity than usually expected of them.
Though the Blacks rode their luck yet again when an aberrant mix up in the box almost handed the Predators the leveller but the woodwork, which denied them in the first half, kept HFC’s lead in tact after the ball hit it and bounced right back into the grateful arms of Gopal Peethambaran.
While it provided entertainment to those in the stands, but it was certainly a heart in the mouth moment for the Hilderincs, who were thankful to have survived the scare.
The more than welcomed attention by the Predators prompted the Blacks to make strategic substitutions, as Jeevan, Leslie Eng and Kumaresan Maniam, were brought on to provide much needed security to the defence and prop up for the midfield, while another competitive debutant, Peter Wang and Chua Yuxuan were added to freshen the attack.
Serhat Dalbeyler coming close to getting the much converted second goal with a long range curler which just flouted past the goal, and Logaraj Sundram throwing himself in the line of an excellent cross were highlights in a tightly contested second half before Mitchell Keh sealed all three points for the Blacks.
Profiting for hesitant defending of a throw in, the forward, who was a constant livewire since his introduction in the first half, volleyed in a prefect shot into the bottom left corner to effectively end the Predators’ resolve.
Full credit given to the Blacks, who despite held on to register not only a well-earned win but showed that on their day, their class was second to none.
While not a prefect performance, the Hilderincs will want to make it a stepping stone to move up the table in the coming weeks, with every game given equal attention and planning.
Predators FC 0 : Hilderinc FC 2
Goals: Gabir Nabil, Mitchell Keh
Man of the Match: Denis Lobov
Starting Line Up
1. Gopal Peethambaran
2. Shuichi Narita
3. Denis Lobov
4. Nicholas Ledenmark
5. Alex Wong
6. Rama Witjaksono
7. Sunny Tharidu
8. Serhat Dalbeyler
9. Gabir Nabil
10. Sashikumar Mahathevan
11. Nicolas Amstutz
12. Basil Al Barr
13. Leslie Eng
14. Peter Wang
15. Jeevan T Kannu
16. Parthiban Aruchamy
17. Bayu Tanmizi
18. Logaraj Sundram
19. Kumaresan Maniam
20. Mitchell Keh
21. Chua Yuxuan
Categories: Match Day