Hyderabad FC valiantly fought back from a goal deficit before holding off a late onslaught by Odisha FC to consolidate their position at the top of the points table on Thursday. The final scoreline of the Hero Indian Super League contest at the Tilak Maidan Stadium read 3-2 in favour of HFC. Despite Hyderabad’s continuous domination in the first half, Jerry Mawihmingthanga (45’) scored for Odisha FC against the run of play. Undeterred by the disappointment, HFC came back strongly in the second period. Joel Chianese (50’) leveled the scores for Hyderabad, with Joao Victor’s thunderous strike from just outside the box, which had put Manolo Marquez’s men in the lead.
Akash Mishra (73’) added further to the misery for Kino Garcia’s side when he finished off a great free-kick by Mohammad Yasir. Late on, Jonathas Christian (84’) pulled one goal back with a well-taken finish into the top corner. However, that goal turned out to be nothing but a mere consolation, as Hyderabad FC saw out the game. The Nizams started as the dominant of the two sides. Chianese had a great opportunity to score when Nikhil Poojary put in a delightful cross but the former headed it wide.
Not long after, Bartholomew Ogbeche had a great opportunity to open the scoring but a bit of indecision involving him and Aniket Jadhav prevented them from scoring the first goal. As the half progressed, Hyderabad FC started to become more of a threatening force. Their intricate passing combined with the high pressing allowed them to pin the Juggernauts back into their own half. However, HFC had to pay the price for failing to take their chances in the opening half. Jerry Mawihmingthanga bundled the ball over the line from a Nandhakumar Sekar cross.
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Hyderabad FC were determined to get back into the match as quickly as possible, and it was evident with the way they started the second half. Their positive approach was rewarded in the 50th minute when Chianese converted a brilliant cross by Mishra to equalise the score. There was a penalty shout soon after when a deflected header struck Gaurav Bora’s left hand, however, the referee was unmoved. Soon after, Javi Hernandez got a fantastic through ball from Isaac Chhakchhuak and was through on goal but the Spaniard failed to hit the target.
Victor then got his goal when his shot rifled into the top corner to deservedly put Hyderabad FC in front. Hyderabad extended their lead when Mishra nodded home from close range minutes later. Odisha FC, however, did not give up as they staged a mini-comeback of their own. Jonathas produced a peach of a strike and curled the ball into the top corner to reduce the deficit. The Juggernauts pushed for the late equaliser, but they were kept at bay by Hyderabad FC.
This result keeps Hyderabad FC at the top of the table, with a three-point gap over second-placed Kerala Blasters. The Juggernauts, meanwhile, sit seventh. Odisha FC’s next match is against FC Goa on Tuesday, whereas Hyderabad FC take on NorthEast United on Monday.