East Bengal FC rode on Cleiton Silva’s brace to start their Super Cup football campaign with a fighting 3-2 win over Hyderabad FC at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday. The Group A fixture saw Hyderabad draw level twice through Ramhlunchhunga and Nim Dorjee Tamang before Saul Crespo scored the winning goal for East Bengal in the 80th minute. East Bengal have been struggling to score goals this season. But on this day, Silva led from the front as they looked to attack from the outset. The first significant chance came in the eighth minute when Nishu Kumar delivered a cross from the left flank. Silva managed to head the ball down to Nandhakumar, setting up what seemed like a perfect volley opportunity. However, Nandhakumar’s shot struck the crossbar.
East Bengal broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. The move was initiated by Mohamad Rakip, who played a quick one-two with Nandhakumar on the right flank, before delivering a precise cross into the box that evaded all Hyderabad defenders.
Silva made a timely run into the box and volleyed the ball home to give East Bengal the lead.
Hyderabad FC restored parity in the 45th minute. Mohammad Rafi played a beautiful through ball to Lalchhanhima Sailo on the right flank.
Sailo, with great awareness, tracked back the ball and found Ramhlunchhunga unmarked inside the box, and he calmly sent the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
East Bengal, though, remained undeterred by Hyderabad’s equaliser and started the second half with the same attacking mindset.
Silva continued to be a key figure in East Bengal’s offensive efforts and made a significant impact again in the 54th minute. He showcased his skill and precision by scoring with a lovely curled free-kick from 30 yards, putting East Bengal ahead once again.
Hyderabad fought their way back into the match once again in the 79th minute when Makan Chote played a square pass to Ramhlunchhunga inside the box.
Ramhlunchhunga tried to go past Souvik Chakrabarti before the East Bengal defender decided to foul him. The referee Harish Kundu immediately pointed at the spot and Tamang converted the penalty to help Hyderabad draw level.
East Bengal, though, found their hero in Crespo, who was brought on as a substitute at the start of the second half.
Borja Herrera floated in a corner from the left and an unmarked Crespo easily headed home the winner and gave East Bengal three crucial points.
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