Aridane Santana’s successful penalty was the only difference as Hyderabad FC beat Odisha 1-0 to begin their Indian Super League 2020-21 campaign with a win at the GMC Stadium on Monday.
Following the 35th minute spot kick from 12 yards, Hyderabad managed to keep Odisha at bay throughout the match and pulled their first-ever cleansheet since debut in the franchise-based tournament last season.
The South Indian team were better in the opening period of the game, forcing Odisha to play deep into their own half. Hyderabad won a series of corners and had almost earned a goals inside the first 10 minutes.
Their persistance paid off after the half hour mark when Odisha captain Steven Taylor handled the ball inside the box in an attempt to block Halicharan Narzary’s shot. Santana kept his composure and slotted home in the 35th minute.
It was only in the 40th minute of the match that Hyderabad goalkeeper Subrata Paul made his first save, thwarting Odisha striker Manuel Onwu. Hyderabad had chances to extend their lead but the outstanding Arshdeep Singh made a couple of good saves just before the half time whistle blew.
Minutes after the restart, Odisha had their best opportunity to restore parity. But Nandhakumar Sekar’s poor first touch allowed Mishra to make a crucial goal-saving tackle.
Hyderabad almost doubled the lead from a set-piece but Joao Victor’s goal was rightly ruled offside. Liston Colaco, who constantly troubled the Odisha defence, almost produced a moment of magic in the 67th minute, when he dribbled from the half-way mark into the box, but was unable to find the finish. In the end, though, the misses did not matter, as Hyderabad held on for the win.