East Bengal FC sneaked past Hyderabad FC by 1-0 at the Gachibowli Stadium to round off a captivating Saturday double header of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 tonight. A 11th minute headed strike by Brazilian striker Cleiton Silva ensured that the visitors got the three points and elevated to the eighth spot in the standings.

The Red & Gold Brigade came into this match seeking their first win in six games, especially after succumbing to consecutive losses to NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC in the run up to tonight’s game.

Head coach Carles Cuadrat was desperate to find solutions to the varied problems troubling them since the victory in the final of the Kalinga Super Cup in Bhubaneswar last month. On that front, he will be pleased with the efforts of his players in tonight’s game, with the offensive game plan primarily concerned around attacking the inexperienced Hyderabad FC defence through crosses from both ends of the field.

To their credit, the players were up for the task right from the offset, with Nishu Kumar playing a vital role for the same on the left hand side of the field. Sprinting ahead with purpose, the former Kerala Blasters FC star swung in a peach of a cross by beating his marker for Silva, who was positioned merely yards away from the Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh. Silva made the right jump, meeting the ball perfectly and nodding it home to get the coveted lead.

Even post the break, Cuadrat didn’t relent from the strategy despite the early lead. Victor Vazquez spotted reasonable open space on the right flank and he curled in a lateral delivery for the onrushing East Bengal FC defender Hijazi Maher inside the box. Maher got at the end of the cross but couldn’t keep control over his headed effort, but it also arguably showed a certain lack of promptness from the Hyderabad FC ranks to overcome the challenges thrown to them by the Kolkata-based club.

Hyderabad FC had more troubles coming their way as both Alex Saji and Joao Victor picked their second yellow cards and were sent off in the added time of the second half. This will lead to them missing the coming game, adding further woes to Hyderabad’s depleted squad and winless run in the current season.

East Bengal FC have overtaken Chennaiyin FC and Bengaluru FC with this win, and will hope that the victory gives a good boost to their qualification prospects for the playoffs.

Key Performer of the Match

Cleiton Silva (East Bengal FC)

Comments the hour, commeth the man. Silva has been the player rescuing East Bengal FC often for a few years now and he delivered the same when the team was searching for this much-needed win. He completed 22 out of his 26 passes, but was most importantly efficient when the odd chance came his way to secure three points for his side.

What’s next for both teams?

Hyderabad FC will play Bengaluru FC on February 24 in their coming game, whereas East Bengal FC will face Jamshedpur FC on February 22 for their next clash.

Brief Scores

East Bengal FC 1 (Cleiton Silva 11’) - 0 Hyderabad FC

For more information, visit the match centre: https://www.indiansuperleague.com/matchcentre/62559