ISL 2020: Santana penalty helps Hyderabad down Odisha
Aridane Santana’s 35th minute penalty against his former club helped Hyderabad FC beat Odisha FC 1-0 at Bambolim’s GMC Stadium in Goa on Monday. In their second Indian Super League (ISL) season, this was Hyderabad FC’s first clean sheet. To fix that, last term’s cellar team got Subrata Paul but the man with the maximum clean sheets in ISL history didn’t have to do much.
Like FC Goa, both teams have signed six foreigners but Cole Alexander and Jacob Tratt’s unavailability meant Odisha could field only four. Ditto Hyderabad for whom Francisco Sandanza and Joel Chianese were not in the 18 for their opening game. Hyderabad also started Adil Khan, who was injured in pre-season, on the bench; the India centre-back coming on in the 90th minute.
Yet it was the yellow shirts who looked more settled forcing three corner-kicks by the 10th minute. Santana could have scored from the first but his free header lacked direction. It was the same in the 26th minute though this time the big Spaniard was being pressured by Odisha centre-back and skipper Steven Taylor. The difference between the teams was further accentuated by Hyderabad introducing Liston Colaco, whose trickery Odisha struggled to contain, in the 62nd minute. Colaco dragged a shot narrowly wide and after that, Hyderadad’s Halicharan Narzary came close to being the first Indian to score in ISL7.
Taylor, who has played 215 games in 13 years at Newcastle United, tried to marshal the backline in a team full of young Indian players. But he couldn’t prevent his hand hitting the ball as he slid to block Narzary’s shot. Stopped by injury after 14 games last term, Santana’s 10th ISL goal in his second season came with a blast down the middle. The penalty was conceded after Manuel Onwu lost the ball to Narzary helping him and Santana,33, launch the attack.
Playing two young Indians Thoaiba Singh and Saurabh Meher as central midfielders --- possibly because Cole is not ready yet --- meant Odisha couldn’t play through Brazilian playmaker Marcelinho. But in his fourth ISL club, Marcelinho didn’t look happy when he was substituted in the 53rd minute. “We were nervous at the start and didn’t have enough of the ball,” said Odisha coach Stuart Baxter.
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