Hyderabad put four past Kerala

Sandaza, Aridane and Joao Victor find the back of the net in the biggest win of the season

Vasco, Goa: After a run of draws, Hyderabad FC were back to winning ways as they defeated Kerala Blasters 4-0, at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, on Tuesday. Fran Sandaza’s five-minute brace (58’ & 63’) started the scoring for HFC, who then saw Aridane Santana (86’) and Joao Victor (90’) score late in the game to win three crucial points on the night.

This was incidentally Kerala’s worst defeat and the biggest win in the 96 league games so far this season. It also propels Hyderabad to the 3rd place in the points table with 27 points on board, 18 games into the season.

The game started with a half-chance inside the first minute that Sandaza failed to capitalize on. But the visitors slowly grew into the game and tested Laxmikant Kattimani on goal with a couple of half-chances. The game had a decent flow but neither team managed to carve out a real chance as they headed off into the break on level terms.

Manolo Marquez’s side came out strongly after the break and should have taken the lead as Bakary Kone’s mistake sent Joel Chianese through on goal, just minutes after the restart. But the No. 7 hit it high and saved Kerala the blushes.

However, just before the hour-mark, another mistake at the back from the visitors sent the Aussie attacker in on goal. Though he was challenged, the ball broke to Fran Sandaza, who drove home into an empty net.

And just a few minutes later, Chianese got to a loosely hit back pass from Kone and this time he tried to get past Albino Gomes and was brought down by the Kerala keeper. The referee had no hesitation to award Hyderabad a spot-kick. Sandaza stepped up and buried it with confidence, to score his fourth goal of the campaign.

Hyderabad did well to not only negate any threat from Kerala but also constantly created chances of their own, pressing high up the field and keeping the Kerala backline on its toes.

Aridane Santana, who was too hot to handle at times for Costa Nhamoinesu, won a dangerous free-kick at an angle on the right, three minutes from time. Lluis Sastre stepped up and sent in an inviting ball as the skipper found space inside the box and headed it past Albino Gomes to give Hyderabad a three-goal lead.

Costa then went on to give away a foul in a similar area, yet again for a challenge on Aridane. Sastre put in another testing ball and Aridane got to it first, again. However, this time, he put it back into a dangerous area and Joao Victor was the first to react, as he had a tap-in from a couple of yards out.

The Brazilian needed a couple of bites at the ball but found the back of the net to register his third goal of the season, and help Hyderabad run away with all three points.

Keeping their seventh clean sheet of the season, Hyderabad FC’s backline were solid at the back, giving the Kerala attackers no space or time to work with. But the likes of Joao Victor, Hitesh Sharma, ‘Hero of the Match’ Aridane, Halicharan Narzary and the work rate of Chianese were all crucial for this dominant victory on the night.

Hyderabad FC are back in action when they host ATK Mohun Bagan at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, on Monday, the 22nd of February.

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