Indian Super League, Round 18
A quick-fire brace from Fran Sandaza and late goals from Aridane Santana and Joao Victor helped Hyderabad FC register the season’s biggest win over Kerala Blasters FC on Tuesday. Here are a few talking points from this thrilling game…
Scoring more goals after the break throughout this season, Hyderabad have always come out stronger in the second half and the game against Kerala was no exception. Despite being goalless, the first half witnessed a couple of half-chances from either side who failed to find the back of the net. While Kerala Blasters were more persistent in the attacking third as they grew into the game in the first half, Hyderabad missed a few opportunities to capitalize on the defensive mistakes of the Yellow Army.
Coming into the second half with a dominating mindset, Hyderabad’s strikers worked in tandem as they pushed for an opening. Soon enough, the Kerala backline succumbed to the pressure in the final third allowing Fran Sandaza to take advantage of poor communication between Bakary Kone and Costa and slot the ball into the goal. The Spaniard got his second within five minutes as he calmly converted the penalty after Kerala custodian, Albino Gomes brought down Joel Chianese inside the box. As a fitting end to the dominating second half, Aridane Santana and Joao Victor’s quick-fire goals in the final minutes sealed the victory on Tuesday night.
Taking their chances
Scoring four goals in the span of 45 minutes, Hyderabad FC looked more clinical as they were able to overcome their struggles with missed opportunities and convert chances effectively on Tuesday. Getting his first brace in the Indian Super League, Fran Sandaza displayed his experience as he made no mistake in sending the ball crashing into the net on two occasions and bringing his side the lead on the night.
After being awarded two freekicks in the final minutes of the game, Hyderabad displayed their prowess in set-pieces as Lluis Sastre’s sublime crosses were duly converted by Aridane and Joao Victor. Going into the business end of the tournament, as teams fight to establish their spot in the playoffs, Manolo Marquez’s side will aim to continue this momentum and strengthen their all-round game to finish the season on a high.
The biggest win of the season
This ISL season has witnessed ample high scoring contests, of which Hyderabad FC has been on the winning end on a couple of occasions along with Bengaluru FC and ATK Mohun Bagan among others. Hyderabad FC did score four goals against Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United each, which is also the maximum number of goals scored by a side in a game this season, the margin of these wins was reduced as they conceded goals in these matches.
Keeping the clean sheet against Kerala not only allowed Hyderabad to clinch this season’s biggest victory in the 97 games so far but also hand Kerala Blasters their worst defeat on Tuesday. With this win, Hyderabad will go into the game against ATK Mohun Bagan high on confidence with the aim of strengthening their push for the top-4.
On an unbeaten run of ten games, Hyderabad FC have shown strong character in each match by enduring six hard-fought draws while scripting four emphatic wins. The understanding amongst the players on and off the field has been crucial to the team’s undefeated run. It has translated into robust and all-round performances on the field. As the league has arrived at its final stage and each game has become crucial to a side’s chances at qualification, Manolo Marquez and his men will look to maintain this impressive run when they face ATK Mohun Bagan on Monday.