Photo Credit: Hyderabad FC Twitter
ISL 2020-21 Hyderabad FC vs NorthEast United FC: Hyderabad overcome NorthEast United in a six-goal thriller.
The Nizams extend their win streak in the league.
Hyderabad FC defeated NorthEast United FC by 4-2 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday night. Goals from Joel Chianese, Aridane Santana and a brace from super sub Liston Colaco helped the visitors to cruise past the Highlanders who had two to their name from Federico Gallego and Benjamin Lambot.
Hyderabad took the lead just three minutes into the game after some delightful work by Chianese. The Australian picked the ball up on the right and surged to the byline, drifting past two NorthEast defenders on the way before squaring the ball for Santana, who had the simplest of tap-ins to make it 1-0 for Manuel Marquez’s men.
NorthEast had a big chance to equalise in the 13th minute when a Gallego freekick into the box found Idrissa Sylla, who was unmarked. The Guinean forward though couldn’t quite connect properly with his head as the chance went begging.
Hyderabad had another reprieve shortly after when a Luis Machado shot from distance was tipped on to the post by the goalkeeper. NorthEast continued to push forward in search of a leveller and Sylla forced Hyderabad’s goalkeeper into conceding a corner with a shot from range just before the half hour mark.
Marquez’s men then made NorthEast pay for their failure to make the most of their chances by doubling their lead in the 36th minute. Chianese was the goal-scorer on this occasion and he benefited after Akash Mishra won the ball near NorthEast’s box and passed it to the Australian who drove into the penalty area with the ball at his feet before firing his shot away into the far corner to give Hyderabad a 2-0 lead.
NorthEast though fought back before halftime when Halicharan Narzary was adjudged to have brought down Ashutosh Mehta in the box. Gallego took the penalty and dispatched it straight down the middle to halve the deficit.
The Highlanders then scored the equaliser with the last kick of the half after a cross from the right was headed on target by Ashutosh. Hyderabad’s goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani managed to keep out Ashutosh’s header but the resulting goal-mouth scramble following the save culminated in Lambot finding the back of the net to make it all square at the break.
Gerard Nus’ men could have gone in front within a minute of the restart after a cross from the right found Machado in the box. However, the Portuguese attacker’s shot was disappointing as he put his attempt over the crossbar.
Machado then tested Kattimani in goal with an effort from outside the box on the hour mark, but the Indian goalkeeper was alert and made the save. Sylla also tested Kattimani with a shot from inside the box two minutes later. However, the Indian custodian was up to the task again and made a comfortable save at his near post.
Hyderabad had a chance to regain their lead in the 80th minute when a cross from the left found an unmarked Chianese in the box. The Australian’s header though was wide of the target to the disappointment of his teammates. Narzary then found the ball at his feet with time and space moments later. However, like Chianese earlier, his shot didn’t test the goalkeeper.
That said, the Telangana-based club did get their goal in the 85th minute courtesy of some individual brilliance by Colaco. The Hyderabad substitute received the ball on the right and dribbled past three players before cutting on to his weaker left foot and curling his effort into the far corner.
Colaco wasn’t done yet and ran in behind the defence thanks to a touch from Santana in the dying moments of the game. He went on to score his second of the night by slotting the ball past the goalkeeper to secure the win for Hyderabad.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Hyderabad’s head coach Manuel Marquez admitted that he was angry with his players after they had squandered their two-goal advantage by halftime. “I was very angry because we controlled the game, but we conceded two goals… in five minutes [towards the end of the half] we lost control. I told my players that now we have our game as a draw and we will have to play like how we played in the beginning of the [first half]. The players were brave in the second half and I think we deserved the victory,” he said.
Colaco once again made his presence felt after coming off the bench and his head coach expressed his admiration for the talented Indian attacker. “I love Liston. He is a fantastic guy and he will be a fantastic player but he wasn’t ready for 90 minutes today because he had two-three injuries. But like today, when he enters the pitch and the other team is tired, he can take advantage of his qualities,” Marquez said.
Looking ahead, the Spaniard insisted that his team now will be making the most of their down-time before returning to the pitch. “We want these eight days to rest because when we play Mumbai on January 16; from then till February 28 all the teams will be playing 10 games. It means we play one game every four days. We have to use more players if we want to be in a good condition at the end of the league stage,” Marquez said.
Meanwhile, NorthEast's head coach Gerard Nus called for calm after his side’s winless run was extended to six games. “We have a mature group of players. The players and coaching staff need to learn from the mistakes and situations. This is a test to see our character. In these moments, we have to keep calm, to analyze and to get good rest and recovery and think about the next game,” he said.
Nus believes that the Highlanders can still secure a semi-final spot. “To be honest, I don’t think too much about the table. We have played 10 games and there are still 10 more games until the end of the league stage. Obviously, there are a lot of games and opportunities for us to come back stronger. At the end of the day, we are the only team that won against the best team in the league, which in my opinion is Mumbai City,” the 35-year-old said.
“That’s something that will always be there but it’s not enough. In many games we deserved more, against Chennaiyin FC we deserved to win, against Odisha FC we created so many chances… but we didn’t score and obviously we didn’t defend well enough because they punished us as well,” Nus added.