Hyderabad FC registered their first-ever victory, and points, in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) after edging out Kerala Blasters FC by a 2-1 scoreline at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday. It was a welcome win for Phil Brown’s men, who suffered heavy defeats in their first two outings. The manner of the victory, which saw them go behind in the first-half and then grind out two goals in the second-half will also serve to boost the side’s confidence.
Sahal Abdul Samad and TP Rehenesh were handed their first starts of the season by Eelco Schattorie, while the ever-growing injury list for Hyderabad FC continued to grow with Adil Khan dropping out of Phil Brown’s matchday squad this time around.
It was an edgy start to the match with both teams looking to find their feet in the contest early on. Ten minutes in, however, the visitors were dealt a big blow as Gianni Zuiverloon had to go off the pitch with an unfortunate injury.
Chances were few and far between in the first 30 minutes, with both teams being restricted to shots from distance. In the 33rd minute, the home team came close as Abhishek Halder closed in quickly to block off Rehenesh’s clearance. The ball could have gone anywhere and luckily for Kerala, it went wide of the goal.
The deadlock, however, was broken on the very next minute by the visitors. A long goal kick by Rehenesh found its way to Sahal, who provided a delicate flick to set up Rahul KP for his maiden Hero ISL goal.
The goal most definitely opened up the game as there was a lot more intent going forward amongst both set of players for the remainder of the half. The scoreline, however, stayed 1-0 in the away team’s favour going into the break.
The home team came close three minutes post the restart after some good work by Marcelinho on the left flank almost set up Robin Singh but the striker couldn’t quite sort out his feet quick enough to bury the chance.
Hyderabad were asking most of the questions early on and were duly rewarded in the 53rd minute as they earned a penalty after Mouhamadou Gning’s trailing foot caught an onrushing Mohammed Yasir. Marko Stankovic took charge and dispatched the spot kick effortlessly to draw Hyderabad level.
Rahul KP almost set up Bartholomew Ogbeche for Kerala’s second as the youngster showed some silky skills to get to the byline and found Ogbeche with his cut back. The Kerala captain managed to hit the target but was blocked out by Matthew Kilgallon and mopped up by Kamaljit Singh.
Kerala took control of the match after the hour mark, knocking at the door time and again but failed to find the killer pass to find the goal. They were almost made to pay in the 75th minute as Marcelinho found himself with space and an option to square to Robin. The Brazilian decided to go for glory himself, but only managed to graze the crossbar.
Marcelinho, however, made amends in the 81st minute. Hyderabad got a free-kick from around 30-yards out and Marcelinho Pereira placed it inside the top corner past a helpless Rehenesh to make it 2-1 in the home team’s favour.
Despite Kerala’s best efforts to find an equaliser, Hyderabad held on to mark their first home game in the Hero ISL with a memorable victory. The Brazilian was a source of inspiration for the injury-ravaged Hyderabad FC side and stood up when it mattered the most, scoring the winner with a brilliant free kick late on. He was deservedly named the Hero of the Match.