The final Indian Super League fixture of 2020 was quite an important one, as a youthful Hyderabad FC faced a rather disappointing FC Goa side. The two teams were 8th and 6th in the table respectively going into this match, and both were looking to improve on their recent form. The Nizams saw their unbeaten start end two matches ago and they couldn’t bounce back last time out, while the Gaurs had lost two of their last three clashes.
A very intriguing battle was set to ensue, and here’s what we made of it:
The first half wasn’t the most exciting, as neither side could create any real goalscoring chances until the 43rd minute, when Brandon Fernandes hung up a cross towards Igor Angulo, whose flicked header just went high of the top corner.
Hyderabad FC’s first opportunity came in the 50th minute when Akash Mishra danced his way up the left flank and let fly from the edge of the box, but he cut across the ball with his right foot and his effort swerved wide. Four minutes later, Halicharan Narzary slipped João Victor through on goal on the right, but the Brazilian midfielder failed to beat Mohammad Nawaz with his effort.
The Nizams finally broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, when Ashish Rai hung a cross towards Aridane, who managed to get enough power on his header to beat the keeper despite having to take a couple of steps backwards to meet the ball.
— Nikhil Reddy (@nikhilreddy93) December 30, 2020
Four minutes later, the Spanish striker nearly doubled his lead as he let a powerful drive fly from range, forcing Mohammad Nawaz to tip it onto the top crossbar.
Goa finally managed to get an equaliser in the 87th minute when Ishan Pandita flicked Edu Bedia’s free-kick into the top corner of the net with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.
Just what we wanted Ishaan Pandita on scoresheet…🧡🧡🧡🧡 🔥🔥🔥🔥 #ForcaGoa
— Avi (@LazyLad31) December 30, 2020
Three minutes later, Mohammed Yasir cut inside from the right and fired a shot from the edge of the box, but it just went over the crossbar.
However, it was FC Goa who bagged a stoppage-time winner once again through Igor Angulo, who burst up the left, checked inside the defender and beat the keeper with his low finish to the far post.
FERGIE TIME POR FAVOR!!!!!
— The true neutral (@TheBoringfollwr) December 30, 2020
That proved to be Hyderabad’s last chance to salvage a point, so it was Goa who came away with a 2-1 win.
Key Talking Point
Another Unrewarded Performance
After back-to-back defeats which marked the end of their unbeaten start, Hyderabad FC were in for a real test tonight, not just in terms of quality but also in terms of character.
What they wanted was quite clear in the first half, when they had to settle with less possession and did so in a resolute defensive shape. The Nizams pressed coherently, denying FC Goa any time on the ball in their own half, and in doing so, preventing them from building any substantial attacks. They made it obvious that they were much happier to not lose this match instead of going all out for a win.
They grew into the match in the second period, creating a number of chances early on and finally capitalising through Aridane’s powerful header. The test wasn’t complete there, however, as they then had to hold on to the lead. Unfortunately, they failed that test, and it was a late set-piece that proved to be their undoing once again. Then, the Nizams conceded yet again when their defence was caught all out of shape.
Two good teams going against each other in an intense game was great cap off the year but heartbroken for the young HFC team. This is exactly how I felt when NZ lost the CWC last year. Sport is cruel sometimes. Winner takes all!
Side Note: PLAY SUBRATA PAUL EVERY GAME.#HFCFCG
— Vinod Ramnath (@NaanumEngineer) December 30, 2020
This Hyderabad FC performance certainly warranted a point at the very least, but some late lapses meant that they had to walk away disappointed once again.
Laxmikant Kattimani (4.5), Asish Rai (6), Odei Onaindia (5.5), Chinglensana Singh (6.5), Akash Mishra (6), Souvik Chakrabarti (6), João Victor (7), Joel Chianese (5), Hitesh Sharma (5), Halicharan Narzary (6), Aridane Santana (7.5*)
Subs: Mohammad Yasir (5.5), Lluís Sastre (5), Francisco Sandaza (5), Abhishek Halder (N/A)
Key Talking Point
Riding Their Luck Once Again
FC Goa’s season has been marred with inconsistency so far, which is captured very well by their results: DLDWWLLWW
It’s almost as if they have two sides – one of them filled with ruthless killers like the one that turned up against Kerala Blasters, while the other, which made an appearance tonight, quite simply fail to create anything. Juan Ferrando has been using the same set of players in his lineups, so it is difficult to explain why Goa can be so unpredictable.
It’s hard to rationalise this randomness, but if there was any reason tonight, it was that the Gaurs simply failed to play through Hyderabad FC’s press. This is not the first time that this has happened – the game against ATK Mohun Bagan was another example where Juan Ferrando’s possession-based football was neutralised by some intense pressing.
However, the Gaurs didn’t give up, and after equalising through a set-piece, Igor Angulo turned up with his second piece of stoppage-time heroism in two matches to help his side run away with all three points.
— East Lower Army Goa (@eastlowerarmy) December 30, 2020
Mohammad Nawaz (6), Seriton Fernandes (5.5), James Donachie (7), Iván González (6.5), Saviour Gama (6), Alexander Romario (5), Lenny Rodrigues (6), Edu Bedia (6.5), Brandon Fernandes (6.5), Igor Angulo (7.5*), Jorge Ortiz (7)
Subs: Alberto Noguera (6.5), Aibanbha Dohling (5), Sanson Pereira (5), Princeton Rebello (5.5), Ishan Pandita (7)
What This Means:
Hyderabad FC stay in 8th place, while FC Goa climb all the way up to 3rd spot thanks to Ishan Pandita’s first ISL goal which came just 20 seconds after he came on as a substitute, and Igor Angulo’s ninth goal of the season, and the third which came in second-half stoppage-time. This was the Nizams’ third loss on the trot, while FC Goa have now won two in a row.
Hyderabad FC face Chennaiyin FC next on Monday, while FC Goa face SC East Bengal two days after that.
Stats courtesy Sofascore.com