Hyderabad pips Kerala Blasters 1-0 to end the league phase on a bang
Hyderabad ended the league phase of the 2022-23 Indian Super League on a winning note as they defeated Kerala Blasters 1-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Sunday. Borja Herrera scored the only goal of the match in the 29th minute.
Hyderabad started in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Gurmeet Singh Chahal guarding the sticks. Akash Mishra, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Odei Onaindia, and Nikhil Poojary formed the back four with the latter donning the captain’s armband in the absence of Bartholomew Ogbeche.
Borja Herrera and Sahil Tavora played as the two defensive midfielders while Halicharan Narzary, Mohammed Yasir, and Joel Chianese played as the attacking midfielders with Javier Siverio deployed as the lone striker.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, played in a 4-4-2 formation with Prabhsukhan Gill wearing the gloves. Ayush Adhikari, Hormipam Ruivah, Marko Leskovic, and Jessel Carneiro played as the back four with Vibin Mohanan, Ivan Kalyuzhni, Bryce Miranda, and Sahal Abdul Samad playing as the four midfielders. Dimitrios Diamantakos and Adrian Luna played as the two strikers but were unable to score a goal.
Hyderabad sniffed a goalscoring opportunity in the 10th minute when Chianese volleyed Leskovic’s feeble clearance with his weak foot. However, his shot struck the woodwork before coming back to play.
Vibin Mohanan’s shot from outside the box in the 14th minute curled past the crossbar as both sides made their intentions clear. Chianese was pulled by Hormipam inside the box three minutes later but the referee didn’t award the penalty.
However, Hyderabad didn’t have to wait long to score their first goal as Borja slotted the ball in the bottom corner ten minutes later. Yasir’s crossfield pass found Halicharan, who beat his marker and laid a cutback pass towards Borja. The Spaniard made no error in slamming the ball past Prabhsukhan with his first touch.
Chianese silenced the crowd in the 35th minute after his first-time shot off Siverio’s cross found the back of the net. However, the linesman adjudged the pass to be offside moments later.
The Chianese-Siverio combination once again found the net in the 72nd minute with the latter taking the shot. However, the linesman raised his flag once again to catch Siverio in an offside position.
Diamantakos found himself free on a corner from Nishu Kumar in the 76th minute. However, his final shot struck Leskovic’s body before trickling out of play. Ten minutes later, Hyderabad got a golden opportunity to double their lead. Substitute Abdul Rabeeh lobbed the ball toward Aaren D’Silva’s head but the latter’s effort sailed over the crossbar.
The move turned out to be the final shot of the game as Hyderabad won the game 1-0 finishing second on the table with 42 points from 20 games. They have a rest of eleven days ahead of them before they play the semi-finals.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, don’t have such a luxury of time. They will square off against Bengaluru in the latter’s home ground on Friday in the playoff for the semi-final. Ivan Vukomanovic would want his side to forget this loss and put up a strong show against their arch-rivals.