Hyderabad FC battle their way to first win of ISL season

Aridane scores from the spot as Subrata keeps first clean sheet in club’s history

Panaji, Goa: Hyderabad FC started their 2020-21 Indian Super League campaign with a 1-0 win over Odisha FC in Bambolim on Monday. New signing Aridane Santana’s penalty in the first half was enough to win the game for Manolo Marquez’s men, who showed a brilliant defensive display to hold on to the first clean sheet in the club’s history.

HFC started the game strongly, as they put some early pressure on the hosts, winning three corners, even before the 10-minute mark. Spaniard Santana came close in the fourth minute and continued to trouble the Odisha defense in set-piece situations.

But the break through finally came in the 35th minute after the ball hit Steven Taylor’s arm from Halicharan Narzary’s shot from outside the box. Aridane, who exchanged passes with Narzary in the build-up to that shot, was assured with his spot-kick, and sent it down the middle to beat Arshdeep Singh on goal.

Though Odisha slowly grew into the game, they failed to test the Hyderabad defense and went into the break trailing. Baxter decided to replace a struggling Marcelinho, just minutes into the restart and this made it easier for the likes of Odei Onaindia and Joao Victor at the back for HFC.

Even as Odisha tried to push men forward, Manolo introduced Liston Colaco, who ran the game for Hyderabad. His pace and skill were tough to handle for the Odisha FC backline and he won a series of free-kicks, which could have easily given Hyderabad another goal.

Stuart Baxter’s men had a couple of half chances but hardly asked any questions of Subrata Paul on HFC’s goal as Hyderabad FC put in a clinical performance and started their campaign with three points in the bag. This is the first clean sheet in the club’s history as Subrata extends his league record to 27 shut-outs in his career.

Santana’s form and a few minutes for Adil Khan at the end are more positives to take from this game for HFC. They are back in action when they face Bengaluru FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday, the 28th of December.

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