|Posted on July 6, 2019 at 10:30 AM|
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Despite earnest planning to prepare themselves for the new ESPZEN campaign, Hilderinc FC were let down by unprecedented absenteeism, leaving them unfulfilled of the objectives of a pre-season friendly.
Already without the services of several key players who were on “international duties”, the Blacks, who made the difficult decision to carry on with the planned preparatory programme, were reduced by withdrawals, who at the start of the week had made themselves available for selection, but adding to that, eleventh hour withdrawals left them decimated beyond having even a side to complete on a level numeric playing field.
Fortunately, the late inclusion of Darren Tan, who despite severely lacking in match fitness and the season opener with the Hilderinc Twá on Sunday, Sathyaraj Rajandran, rushing from work, and help in the form of Manqullio, gave the Blacks a semblance of a football team, but full credit goes to the Rivals, who despite their own restrictions, loaned one of their own to turn up for the opposing side, in true spirit of the Game.
Unlike rivalries that stem from distasteful circumstances, mutual respect for each other has been the foundation between these two sides who served up cracking games whenever they turned up against each other in the past.
However, taking on last season’s ESPZEN Division 1 Champions with a ragtag team was an unenviable task for the Blacks who took pre-season experimentation to a whole new level, as they looked unrecognisable with more than one playing away from their usual position and with a new pairing alongside.
Despite the quandary and a tentative start, the Hilderincs showed good character to put on a contest, but the Rivals, taking advantage of the Blacks’ uncertainties, especially defending corners, took a 3-0 lead into the break.
The Hilderincs started the second half brightly and pulled a goal back through Johan, after he took a second bite of the cherry to score from an acute angle, giving an impressive debut, albeit against his parent club, while giving the Blacks hope of another remarkable comeback against the Rivals like in 2015 when they overturned a 3-0 first half deficit to win 5-3.
But with circumstances and depth in the squad different from four years ago, any fight back was quickly denied by the Rivals after they scored three more, again profiting from the soft underbelly of the Hilderincs when defending a corner, with four of the six goals resultant from the set-piece.
While the gulf in the form a settled and well-worked side was apparent, the Blacks had their moments in the game and were presented with opportunities of their own, with the tireless Gabriel Magalhães coming closest with an effort that drifted wide of the upright.
However, notwithstanding the result, it was a meaningful outing for the Hilderincs, especially against an esteemed opponent who certainly put them through the paces, but it also gave an opportunity for the Blacks to demonstrate their fighting spirit in spite of the circumstances, though the non-attendance was a frustration hard to hide.
Playground Rivals Vets FC 6 : Hilderinc FC 1
Yellow Card: Sathyaraj Rajandran
1. Gowtham Durai
2. James Ryall
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Sunny Tharidu
6. Darren Tan
7. Gabriel Magalhães
8. Sanil Khatri
9. Casimir Simon
10. Ian Morris
12. Sathyaraj Rajandran
Categories: Match Day