Hyderabad finish league campaign with a win in Kochi

Borja Herrera scores as HFC beat KBFC 1-0; register 10th clean sheet along with record points tally

Hyderabad: In what was a thoroughly entertaining Indian Super League clash, Hyderabad FC ran out victorious at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, with a 1-0 victory over Kerala Blasters on Sunday.

Borja Herrera’s (29’) goal was enough on the night for HFC, who also managed to register a joint league record 10th clean sheet in 20 games. They now finish the league phase of the campaign with 42 points, which is also a club record.

Manolo Marquez’s side made a quick start to the game, constantly keeping the Blasters under pressure right from kick-off. The likes of Joel Chianese, Halicharan Narzary and Mohammad Yasir were too quick and smart as Prabhsukhan Gill was a busy man for most of the first half.

Borja Herrera broke the deadlock, placing a Halicharan Narzary cut-back in the bottom corner to give HFC a lead in Kochi. Chianese scored just minutes later, but just before play restarted, the referee had other ideas and after consulting the linesman, decided to chalk the goal off for offside.

For the third time this season, the referee in a Hyderabad FC game took his time to give a decision and this time, he took it a step too far, as Ivan Vukomanovic was seen pointing to the big screen replay before the decision was changed.

This was a big decision in the game and it was controversial but Hyderabad managed to keep their head in the game to get into the break with a lead.

Coach Manolo made a few changes after the break and even as the Blasters pushed hard for an equalizer, Hyderabad managed to hold on to a clean sheet. Gurmeet Singh had no big save to make while Hyderabad could have scored a couple more, as they finished the game with all three points in the bag.

Joel, Javi Siverio and Abdul Rabeeh scored an offside goal each while the Aussie striker also hit the bar and it was Hyderabad who finish their league phase with a win.

Hyderabad conceded just 16 goals in 20 games which is the best defensive record for a single 11-team Indian Super League and have long booked a place in the semi-finals.

Manolo’s men will face the winner of the playoff clash between ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC that will be played at the Salt Lake Stadium on March 4.

Hyderabad FC will be back in action when they host the winner of this playoff at the Gachibowli Stadium in the first leg on Thursday, March 9.


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