Hyderabad takes momentum into play-offs
KOCHI: Kerala Blasters FC could not finish the league phase with the best home record after losing 0-1 to Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday in the last Indian Super League 2022-23 match before the play-offs.
Borja Herrera scored the only goal of the match in the 29th minute as defending champion Hyderabad handed Kerala its third consecutive loss. Hyderabad finished second on the table with 42 points while Kerala came fifth with 31 points.
At the start of the match, KBFC centre-back Marko Leskovic was quick to block Javier Siverio’s goal-bound shot from close range. But, the rebound fell to Joel Chianese, who took an extra touch before finding the crossbar.
A few minutes later, the host came close to drawing first blood when Adrian Luna spotted Vibin Mohanan lurking near the edge of the box. The Uruguayan squared the ball from the left flank straight into his path as Vibin tried to curl it into the top right corner but saw his effort fly wide.
In the 29th minute, Herrera put the visitor in front. The move started with Sahil Tavora’s excellent run in the middle third, where he cut into midfield from the right before finding Halicharan Narzary on the left. The winger pulled it back into the box, where Herrera managed to nestle the ball into the far post with a first-time shot.
Blasters had a promising opportunity when substitute Joao Victor brought Luna down near the edge of the box four minutes past the hour-mark. The Uruguayan took it himself and launched it over the bar as Victor and his teammates heaved a huge sigh of relief.
Four minutes from time, Hyderabad substitutes Abdul Anjukandan and Aaren D’Silva combined well but could not put the game to bed.
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