Kolkata, Feb 10 (IANS) First-half strikes by Anirudh Thapa and Jason Cummings helped Mohun Bagan Super Giant secure their first win after four games in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season as they registered a comfortable 2-0 win over Hyderabad FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Saturday night.
Both Thapa and Cummings were notable high-profile acquisitions made by the Mohun Bagan Super Giant ahead of the season, however, they hadn’t hit the ground running yet. Cummings had a handful of strikes to his name but the expectations of the impact that the team would have expected from a footballer experienced of playing in the FIFA World Cup was arguably missing so far. Similarly, Thapa had recorded reasonable playing time from the defensive midfield but lacked any goal contribution in the ISL 2023-24.
Thankfully for Antonio Lopez Habas, these boxes were ticked in this encounter. In the 12th minute, the former Chennaiyin FC star displayed impressive positional awareness to get to the end of a corner kick, squabbling against the Hyderabad FC defenders to net the ball in and get an early lead for the home side.
Cummings’ goal in the added time of the first half must have brought many a smile to the Mohun Bagan Super Giant faithful, with the Australian forward tapping in a squared-up pass by the tireless Manvir Singh at the brink of the halftime whistle.
As is the routine often, Manvir used his burst of pace to beat the opposition’s backline and get into a pocket of promising space in the final third. He then laid up a fairly straightforward low ball for Cummings, who didn’t blink twice before depositing it past Gurmeet Singh to double his team’s lead and then broke into his trademark celebration, much to the joy of the supporters on the stands.
Hyderabad FC and their inexperienced unit didn’t have much to do in the second essay of the game. Joseph Sunny and Amon Lepcha tested their luck in different phases of the half from outside of the 18-yard box. However, none of those shots were troublesome for Vishal Kaith, with only four of their efforts throughout the game landing on target.
Mohun Bagan Super Giant will play their next game against FC Goa on February 14, whereas Hyderabad FC will lock horns with East Bengal FC in their forthcoming fixture on February 17.