Hyderabad’s Shield aspirations all but over post loss to Odisha
BHUBANESWAR: Odisha FC maintained its stellar record at home this Indian Super League season after a 3-1 win over Hyderabad FC at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday.
The win saw Odisha (27 points from 18 matches) replace Bengaluru FC in the sixth place, the final qualification spot for the play-offs. The loss for the second-placed Hyderabad (36 points from 17 matches) means that if table-topper Mumbai City FC wins against FC Goa on Saturday, the ‘Islanders’ will be crowned the ISL League Shield winner.
HFC goalkeeper Gurmeet Singh was solid between the sticks, but it was not enough to keep Odisha quiet as it got its nose in front minutes after the half-hour mark. Pedro Martin played the ball back to Isak Ralte, who unleashed a curling stunner from about 30 yards out.
Just when it seemed like the ‘Juggernauts’ was going into the break with a lead, Hyderabad restored parity. Borja Herrera lofted the ball into the box from a free-kick, which was cleared only as far as Nim Dorjee. The central defender got his head on it to equalise.
But, Odisha retook the lead in the 72nd minute. Diego Mauricio’s marauding run attracted three defenders on the left side of the box before a loose ball fell into the path of Nandhakumar Sekar. The winger flashed it across the face of goal and it picked up a deflection off Dorjee and went into the back of the net.
Mauricio’s persistence was ultimately rewarded in the final minute of stoppage time. Isaac Vanmalsawma lobbed the ball into the box as the Brazilian beat the offside trap before nestling it in at the far post from an acute angle.
RESULT: Odisha FC 3 (Isak 33, N Dorjee 72(OG), D Mauricio 90) bt Hyderabad FC 1 (N Dorjee 45)
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