Hyderabad FC beat Kerala Blasters FC 3-1 on penalties to win their first-ever ISL title at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa on Sunday. The final was competitive from minute one to last and it reflected in the scoreline as the two teams were locked at 1-1 at the end of 120 minutes.
Rahul KP (68’) gave Kerala Blasters FC the lead but substitute Sahil Tavora (88’) rescued Hyderabad FC two minutes from time to send the final into extra time. However, neither team could make the decisive blow in the additional thirty minutes meaning the final had to be decided from ten yards.
Marko Leskovic, Nishu Kumar and Jeakson Singh missed for Kerala Blasters FC as successful penalties from Joao Victor, Khassa Camara and Halicharan Narzary
Kerala Blasters FC buoyed by the fan support in the stadium made a fast start, pressing Hyderabad FC aggressively. It could have proved to be a tad too aggressive when Sandeep Singh lunged in to make a foul which was deemed to only be a yellow card offence by referee Crystal John but referees showed that the punishment could have been harsher.
Kerala Blasters FC created their first opening in the 14th minute when Harmanjot Khabra floated in a cross for Alvaro Vazquez who couldn’t get a lot of power in his header as he headed wide.
The Blasters continued to dominate territorially without troubling Laxmikant Kattimani in the Hyderabad FC goal too much. However, he was a mere spectator in the 39th minute when Vazquez’s shot came off the crossbar.
Javier Siverio who came on for the injured Joel Chianese then had a big chance to put Hyderabad FC in front in first-half stoppage time but his header from a free-kick was straight at Prabhsukhan Gill who made a top save to keep the scoreline 0-0 at the break. Hyderabad FC started the second half on the front foot and Victor forced a good save from Gill who had to dive to his right to keep out the shot in the 49th minute.
Six minutes later, Bartholomew Ogbeche missed a big chance to put his team in front when he blazed over after being played through on goal.
However, Kerala Blasters FC opened the scoring against the run of play when Rahul KP’s speculative shot escaped the grasps of Laxmikanth Kattimani.
Marquez threw on Halicharan Narzary and Sahil Tavora to rescue the match. Hyderabad FC came close in the 76th minute when Gill produced a save from the top drawer to deny Ogbeche from a free-kick as Juanan blazed over from the rebound under pressure from Rahul KP.
However, just when it seemed Kerala Blasters FC would hol onto their lead, Tavora produced a stunning long-range effort that sailed over Gill into the back of the net as Hyderabad FC equalised two minutes from time.
Kerala Blasters FC responded well to being pegged back and could have won the match in stoppage time when Vazquez headed over from close range. The game went into extra time. Ivan Vukomanovic threw on Chencho Gyeltshen for Jorge Diaz but it was Hyderabad FC who went close to breaking the deadlock as Narzary fired wide from a position of promise.
Kerala Blasters FC then struck the woodwork in the 101st minute as Kerala Blasters FC ended the first half on the front foot. Ogbeche then had a chance to win it in the 109th minute but saw his effort cleared off the line by Leskovic. Neither team fashioned an opportunity in the final ten minutes as the match went into a penalty shootout.
Kattimani became the hero for his team in the shootout as he saved the first spot kick from Leskovic. Victor then gave Hyderabad FC the lead before Kattimani came up trumps to deny Nishu Kumar from the spot. Siverio then blazed his penalty over to give Kerala Blasters FC hope but Khassa Camara restored the lead in the shootout with a cool penalty.
Kattimani then saved from Jeaskon Singh to put Hyderabad FC on the brink before Narzary handed Hyderabad FC the trophy with a well-taken penalty. It was heartbreak for Kerala Blasters FC as they faced defeat in the final for the third time in their history.