In a shocking result, Indian Super League Champions (ISL) Hyderabad FC (HFC) suffered a 0-1 defeat at the hands of the Army Red Shirt Team (ARFT) in their final group stage match at the 2022 Durand Cup. Suresh Meitei’s only goal in the 33rd minute was the difference between the two sides at Khuman Lampak Stadium on Saturday, September 3.
Entering the match, the fate of both Group C teams was predetermined. Nizams qualified for the knockout round as the group leader, while ARFT had no chance of making it through.
With the qualification assured, head coach Manolo Marquez launched a relatively inexperienced squad with a few players in the first team. But the match developed into an open encounter with both teams creating plenty of chances. HFC could have taken the lead when Manoj Mohammed pulled in a cross after the third minute, but Borja Herrera’s header failed. Although Hyderabad FC continued to control the course of the match, the Armymen managed to organize the midfield on their own.
After 33 minutes, Army Red FT paid off for their tenacity when Christopher Kamei’s free kick was cleared by goalkeeper Suresh Meitei from close range. HFC’s Lalchungnunga Chhangte almost had a chance to equalize. However, his effort went straight to the goalkeeper. The bottom team suddenly took the lead and managed to defend well in the first half.
Hyderabad FC could not penetrate Army Red FT’s defence
Off the field after the break, Hyderabad FC continued to attack to equalize. Desiring to maintain a winning streak, Manolo Marquez replaced rookie Soyal Joshi with Reagan Singh. Soon after, the Spaniard began to introduce his big guns, Javier Siverio, Joao Victor, and finally Bartholomew Ogbeche.
Even the top scorer of the tournament could not concede Red Devils goalkeeper Bhabindra Thakuri. MG Ramachandran’s side showed the tenacity to hold off Hyderabad FC’s attackers and write a historic victory in the final match of the Durand Cup 2022.
Meanwhile, ARFT will be at the bottom of the table, even with only 5 points. Second place has yet to be decided.
Neroca FC and Chennaiyin FC will battle for the final knockout spot from Group C on Monday, September 5. Hyderabad FC, on the other hand, will be hoping to quickly bounce back from their loss before the knockout round. .