A quick-fire Aridane Santana double - scored within 39 seconds of each other - and a Hallicharan Narzary goal saw Hyderabad beat SC East Bengal 3-2 at the Tilak Maidan stadium on Tuesday. Jacques Maghoma scored both of SCEB's goals.
Hyderabad were clearly the better side in the opening quarter and kept their opponents limited to their own half. They nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute when an attempted clearance from SCEB keeper Debjit Majumder hit the onrushing Nikhil Poojary and nearly looped into the net. Mohamed Irshad headed it out for a corner.
The home side created a number of chances but their frontline of Aridane and Poojary couldn't find the back of the net.
Then, in the 26th minute, East Bengal scored their first goal of the season with their first shot on target, against the run of play. Anthony Pilkington played Matti Steinmann through on the flank, who squared it for Maghoma. Subrata Pal got a hand to Maghoma's shot but it was too powerful for him to keep out.
Hyderabad had the opportunity to restore parity minutes before halftime when they were awarded a penalty for Sehnaj Singh's foul on Mohammed Yasir. But Majumder guessed right and pulled off a stunning save to keep Santana's penalty out.
Soon after that, SCEB had a chance to double their lead but with only the keeper to beat, CK Vineeth dragged his shot wide.
Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez threw on Liston Colaco at halftime and he ended up having a significant influence on the game.
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In the 56th minute, Aridane scored the first of his goals. Yasir whipped in a perfect free-kick to Santana, who leapt to flick the ball into the back of the net. Then 39 seconds later, he was at it again, this time Liston turning provider. The substitute drilled in a low cross at the far post to an unmarked Santana, who passed it into the net.
Then, in the 68th minute, Hyderabad scored their third. It was Colaco once again with a fine assist. He dribbled past two SCEB defenders and played a low cross at the far post to an unmarked Narzary, who tapped the ball into empty net.
There was still time for Maghoma to score a second for SCEB, heading in from a freekick in the 81st minute, but they could not trouble Subrata Paul's goal further.
Hyderabad are now in fifth with nine points in five, while SC East Bengal remain rooted to the bottom of the league with a point in five. They next face fellow strugglers Kerala Blasters on the 20th in a must-win game for both. Hyderabad take on table toppers Mumbai City earlier the same day.