Hyderabad FC crowned ISL champions after beating Kerala Blasters on penalties

Published on Mar 20, 2022 11:11 PM IST

Hyderabad FC won the shootout—the second in an ISL final after Atletico de Kolkata’s 2016 triumph—3-1 after it ended 1-1 in regulation and extra time for their maiden ISL title in their maiden final.

Hyderabad players celebrating the goal during the final.(ISL)
Hyderabad players celebrating the goal during the final.(ISL)
By, New Delhi

Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani lay flat on the ground after muddling a fairly straightforward save to hand Kerala Blasters FC the edge in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) final. An hour later, Kattimani was jumping around the PJN Stadium in Fatorda, saving four shots in the penalty shootout—including one that was saved, retaken and saved again—to instead hand his team the trophy now.

Hyderabad FC won the shootout—the second in an ISL final after Atletico de Kolkata’s 2016 triumph—3-1 after it ended 1-1 in regulation and extra time for their maiden ISL title in their maiden final. Kerala, meanwhile, were third-time unlucky in the final, twice on penalties.

A chunk of Blasters fans had made the trip from Kerala to Goa for the final and their team gave them ample reason to be upbeat in the first half, dictating the pace and possession (61%). The crossbar stood between Kerala and the lead, with Alvaro Vazquez’s thunderous right-footer from the right hitting the post in the 39th minute.

Hyderabad FC, largely flat in the opening 45 minutes, found the spring in their step in added time, courtesy a header by substitute Javier Siverio that needed a fine save Kerala goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill.

The Golden Glove winner had to pull another out one soon after half-time to deny Joao Victor. Hyderabad were starting to motor along, their star striker Bartholomew Ogbeche getting behind the wheel with two shots within seven minutes—one sailed high, the other dribbled into Gill’s hands.

Just as Hyderabad were calling the shots, Kerala struck against the run of play in the 68th minute. The Thrissur-born Rahul KP found some space to go on a bit of a solo run on the right and took an aim from outside the box. Kattimani got his hands to the ball, which still slipped through.

Kerala were almost home before Sahil Tavora’s moment of brilliance opened the door for Hyderabad. The substitute midfielder came charging in to a ball headed just outside the box, met it on the bounce with his right foot and fired it with direction, dip and power to the right of a diving Gill.

It was 1-1 in the 88th minute, and stayed that way after 120 minutes, forcing the shootout. Kattimani then took over, denying Marko Leskovic, Nishu Kumar (twice) and Jeakson Singh. Joao Victor, Khassa Camara and Halicharan Narzary did the job for Hyderabad.

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