Hyderabad FC resisted an onslaught from ATK Mohun Bagan in the second leg of the ISL semi-final as they reached their first-ever final despite a 1-0 defeat on the night at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa as they won the tie 3-2 on aggregate thanks to their success in the first leg.
Juan Ferrando named an attacking line-up and the players responded to his call and created numerous chances to score but they were not clinical in front of goal allowing Hyderabad FC to close the victory on aggregate.
Roy Krishna (79’) scored the only goal of the match to set up an exciting finish but Hyderabad FC held on despite immense pressure from ATK Mohun Bagan, to book a date with Kerala Blasters FC on Sunday.
The Mariners took a while to get going on the night as they started causing Hyderabad FC problems after the first twenty minutes. ATK Mohun Bagan could have had a penalty when a Hugo Boumous corner struck the arm of Bartholomew Ogbeche in the 22nd minute but the referee thought otherwise. In the 31st minute, Liston Colaco charged into space to shoot on goal but he was denied by Laxmikanth Kattimani who made a good save.
Three minutes later, Aniket Jadhav missed a big chance to give Hyderabad FC the lead on the night as he couldn’t make a good connection to a corner despite being completely free inside the box. Then it was ATK Mohun Bagan’s chance to squander an opportunity as Boumous couldn’t convert an inch-perfect cross from Prabir Das from close range in the 37th minute.
In the 40th minute, Hyderabad FC appeared to be denied a penalty when Jadhav was fouled by Kiyan Giri inside the box. The first half ended with ATK Mohun Bagan being on top but failing to make their dominance count as the match remained deadlocked at 0-0.
The Mariners continued to probe the Hyderabad FC defence in the second half who had Kattimani to thank for preserving their two-goal lead on aggregate as he made a great reflex save to deny Krishna who had sent a Prabir cross on target in the 50th minute.
Hyderabad FC were pushed deeper in their own half as the game progressed and had to be alert as they cleared a Joni Kauko shot from a corner off the goal line in the 73rd minute to remain level on the night.
ATK Mohun Bagan eventually broke through in the 78th minute when Colaco did brilliantly to breeze past the defender and tee up Krishna for a tap-in at the far post which he put away without much fuss. Krishna was then through on goal in the 84th minute but he was deemed to be offside by the linesman. The replays showed that it was a much closer call than what the linesman thought.
Hyderabad FC were under the pump as ATK Mohun Bagan who had the momentum after the goal threw the kitchen sink at them but Marquez’s side did enough to keep the scoreline at 1-0 and ensure their passage through to the final on aggregate. Hyderabad FC will now face Kerala Blasters FC in the final on March 20 at the PJN Stadium in Margao, Goa.