Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto showered praises on his players as they went down fighting against Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Bengaluru FC took the lead with a goal from Javier Hernandez, but Ramhlunchhunga later equalised for Hyderabad FC in the latter stages of the game. Although it appeared that the match was heading for a draw, substitute Sivasakthi Narayanan had different plans, securing a crucial goal for Bengaluru FC just 10 minutes after coming off the bench.

With this victory, Bengaluru FC secured their fourth win of the season, while Hyderabad FC faced their 12th defeat in the ongoing campaign. This marked the seventh consecutive loss for Singto's side. However, Singto was proud of how his young players fought toe-to-toe against Bengaluru FC.

“The young boys showed more maturity in the game, in all the phases. Many a times, we pinned down BFC (and their) national team players like Sunil (Chhetri), Sana (Chinglensana Singh), Nikhil Poojary, Roshan (Singh). Siva (Sivasakthi Narayanan) coming in and making a difference (to the final result changed things). Today was one of the best performances we gave as a team, but it wasn’t enough. That’s why it’s heartbreaking because these bunch of young boys deserved something at this point,” he said in the post-match press conference.

Hyderabad FC continue to occupy the bottom spot in the table and is still in search of their first victory this season. Despite their challenging position, a positive note for the team is that they managed to find the net after seven league games. The last instance of this accomplishment was during their 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC in December. Singto remains optimistic, expressing his belief that his team has the potential to improve further in terms of goal-scoring.

“I was happy to see that we scored after a long, long time. It’s just a click.. A small crack of the opening there, but hopefully, (I wish) we get more next game. But I'm proud of the boys. I don’t have a word in which I can more than say that not (just) me, but we as a club, as a team, we’re proud of the boys,” he expressed. 

Midfielder Mark Zothanpuia played as a centre-back against Bengaluru FC, filling in for the suspended Alex Saji. In addition to this, Hyderabad FC faced the absence of their captain and midfield stalwart, Joao Victor, a crucial figure in their defensive setup. Despite these setbacks, Zothanpuia, who has showcased his versatility by playing in midfield and as a full-back this season, delivered an impressive performance in his newfound position. Notably, he effectively neutralised the threat posed by Bengaluru FC striker Sunil Chhetri and his teammates, while demonstrating composure on the field.

Singto expressed his admiration for Zothanpuia's performance and expressed hope that he, along with the other players, swiftly recover from this defeat.

“He (Zothanpuia) is a big example of young players believing in the staff, believing in the coach. Playing in a position against Sunil Chhetri, a top top (player), legend, the best player India has ever produced. And against him, Sunil didn’t have many chances. But the bane was that a young, upcoming striker (Narayanan) comes and breaks everyone's hearts. But I hope we recover quickly because we don’t have much time,” Singto stated.