|Posted on July 21, 2018 at 2:30 PM|
HFC Media File Picture
Billed as the top of the table clash in the ESPZEN Saturday League Division 3, Hilderinc FC laid down the marker as they dispatched league leaders, Super Aviators in a dominant team display at Marsiling Secondary School.
Eight points adrift at the start of the day, albeit having played two games lesser than the Hawks who sat pretty at the summit with six wins out of six, the Blacks knew that they had little allowance to afford anything less three points to keep themselves in the title hunt.
Their plans, however, were given an uncomfortable waking when last weekend’s key performer, Ryan Ng was stricken by illness, while they were further reduced by couple other eleventh hour withdrawals, though the late addition of youngster Nabil Zahrif provided needed depth to the numbers, as Adi Ravikumar, Casimir Simon and Shiv Tulsiani made their competitive bows.
Despite contemplations to review options, the Hilderincs stayed true to their strength, welcoming veteran Denis Lobov, and Sebastian Eraso to the starting lineup, after both who had missed several weeks due to commitments.
However, in spite of that and an injury scare to Diogo Baptista prior to kickoff, it was an almost perfect start from the Blacks, only for Cristian Peligros to be unfortunate to hit the upright in the opening minute.
While it was anticipated that it was never going to be a walk in the park against last season’s Division 4 champions and current pacesetters, the sensational defensive quartet of Adi Ravikumar, Denis Lobov, Nicholas Ledenmark and Basil Al Barr, along with Lim Yong Kiat in goal and Sunny Tharidu in a protective number 6 role, having done their homework on the opponents, soon found the Aviators out and nullified their approach almost completely.
Defending from the further up the pitch, the Blacks allowed Diogo Baptista and Sebastian Eraso to dictate the middle of the park with their energy and drive, linking up with the front three, though Cristian Peligros had three times more attention on him than usual each time he had the ball, something that was obviously pre-planned to curb his devastating form.
Though it was a tight affair for long periods, the Hilderincs looked the more likely to break the deadlock, and almost found their way through when Diogo Baptista let fly a shot, but for the second time, the wooden came to the rescue of the Aviators when the ball smashed the crossbar.
Undeterred, the Blacks pressed ahead and after a spell of sustained pressure deep inside the opponents’ final third, finally finding the way through when Denis Lobov headed Adi Ravikumar’s throw-in to Cristian Peligros, who put the ball beyond the reach of the goalkeeper with a header of his own, as the Hilderincs comfortably took the lead into the break.
The second period started with the Aviators clipping the same crossbar as the Blacks did in the first half, but that was the closet they got for the rest of the game as the Hilderincs showed extreme defensive resolve in keeping them at bay.
Happy to allow the Hawks to venture deeper into their half, the Hilderincs worked on the counter, and nearly extended their lead, only for the keeper to deny Cristian Peligros with a fine save.
With the stakes high, the earlier fluidity was lost in a stop-start affair as the foul count started to rise for both sides, and with the referee exhibiting a passive stance set the tone for unchecked petulance.
Matters came to head when the Hilderincs were awarded a penalty, somewhat unassertively by the referee, who penalised the Aviators for a handball.
And with Cristian Peligros thumping in the spotkick for his twelve league game of the season, the Blacks’ delight was equally matched by the Hawks’ irritation, mainly directed at the referee.
The official’s erratic handling of the proceeding took the cherry when he stopped play for a water break just as the Hilderincs took a cornekick and later telling them at the restart to give the ball back to the Aviators, as a form of appeasement for their discontent with him.
With the Blacks confused and bewildered by the referee, it was then certain that he had lost the plot and it was only the beginning of chaos, as their every touch was deemed a foul and every foul reckoned a warrant for a card by a highly agitated opponent.
As tensions were running high, the Hilderincs sealed the game with a devastating counter-attack as they broke swiftly through Cristian Peligros, who ran almost a third of the pitch before finding Diogo Baptista to pick his spot after he had initiated the break while defending a corner for a goal made in Iberia.
Right on cue, the end of the game as a tie prompted unsavoury flashpoints, with individuals from both sides culpable of shenanigans not worthy of praise, embolden by a referee who decided to be a pedestrian instead of taking charge.
However, it was should not define a top of the table clash which was contested competitively and amicably in large parts.
While the Aviators remain in pole position, the Hilderincs win is highly significant, and with an entire half of the season to be play, nothing is in the bag yet and the Blacks will certainly be mindful of that.
Hilderinc Football Club Statement
Upon reviewing the footage of the game, while several factors had a hand in some incidents in the game, HFC would like to apologise for certain behaviour which is inexcusable by the standards set the Club.
Super Aviators 0 : Hilderinc FC 3
Goals: Cristian Peligros 35”, 55”, Diogo Baptista 70”
MOM: Denis Lobov
Yellow Cards: Sunny Tharidu, Ian Morris, Darren Tan, Jon Loh
1. Lim Yong Kiat
2. Adi Ravikumar
3. Nicholas Ledenmark
4. Denis Lobov
5. Basil Al Barr
6. Sunny Tharidu
7. Diogo Baptista
8. Sebastian Eraso
9. Cristian Peligros
10. Ian Morris
11. Nabil Zahrif
12. Casimir Simon
13. Darren Tan
14. Jon Tan
15. Shiv Tulsiani
Categories: Match Day