Juan Ferrando's FC Goa held Hyderabad FC in a highly strung 1-1 stalemate in the Indian Super League at the GMC Stadium. The draw ensured the Nizams up the second spot in the table, leaving Chennaiyin FC behind.
Even with a lot of goalmouth action, the first half saw no goals scored. The goalkeepers were tested quite a several times, as they kept their side in the game. Joel Chianese broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when he sublimely put the ball past Dheeraj Singh. However, the striking aspect of the goal was the spectacular run by Nikhil Raj before feeding Chianese.
The lead was short-lived, with Airam Cabrera finding the equalizer, eight minutes later. Both the teams made a lot of front runs, creating a lot of chances, but the brilliance of the goalkeepers as well as the wastefulness from the forwards kept the result identical till the final whistle.
The game evidently showed a plethora of positives and negatives for both sides. We, The Bridge chose some of the most stand-out points according to us to be enlisted below.
Hyderabad's Indian contingent continue to improve
Hyderabad FC Head coach Manuel Marquez had previously resonated the reason of success for his team with Indian youngsters of his squad. Despite the result, Hyderabad FC was brilliant on the field and the credit goes to players like Akash Mishra, Rohit Danu, Hitesh Sharma, and Ashish Rai. The highlight moment of Danu for the encounter was when he rendered Ivan Gonzalez helpless with a turnaround.
However, despite the sloppy moment that resulted in FC Goa's equalizer, it is safe to say that Asish Rai is probably the best Indian right back at the time in the tournament. Sadly, a challenge made on him by Sanson had to see him out of the field in the 80th minute.
Absence of Jorge Ortiz
The unavailability of Jorge Ortiz brought in a lot of attacking worries for FC Goa. The team had made a lot of goalmouth action through players like Devendra Murgaonkar, Airam Cabrera, and Alberto Noguera. The successful conversion rate was really low as they failed to test Laxmikant Kattimani. However, FC Goa dominated the possession. But they lacked the transitional pace which Hyderabad FC looked really good at.
Hyderabad FC's wastefulness up-front
Hyderabad FC seemed quite a wasteful upfront even with the presence of prolific goalscorer like Bartholomew Ogbeche. Ogbeche, who is a Golden Boot contender, took a lot of shots to put his side ahead. However, he failed to convert it. The reason can be resonated with the Nigerian-French forward being overworked.
Providing some rest to Ogbeche, starting with Siverio would have seemed to be a better decision. Ogbeche has already scored 5 goals this season and is in contention with Igor Angulo for the Golden Boot.
Impressing the football fans with his performance in SAFF Championship as well as in the AFC Champions League, Dheeraj Singh was at his best again. Dheeraj can be claimed as the man who kept FC Goa in the game tonight. Although being tested quite several times through the likes of Bartholomew Ogbeche, Joel Chianese, Rohit Danu, and others, Dheeraj made some brilliant saves.
On the other hand, although he wasn't tested as much, Laxmikant Kattimani was the savior of the Hyderabad FC. His highlight of the whole game was the 90-minute strike that he brilliantly denied to keep his side in the game.
Ivan Gonzalez continues to impress
The FC Goa defence seemed to be very chaotic at the start of the season. However, with time they seemed to have settled down. Spaniard Ivan Gonzalez remains the most stand-out man in the defence of the Gaurs. Keeping the offence of HFC that consists of Bartholomew Ogbeche along with the pacey, agile youngsters like Rohit Danu, Akash Mishra at Bay doesn't seem to be an easy task.
Although starting the season on a low note, the Gaurs seemed to have capitalized on the momentum as they climb up the 7th spot with seven points in the table.
FC Goa would like to keep up the momentum as they take on highly attacking Odisha FC next Friday. On the other hand, Hyderabad FC will face SC East Bengal on Thursday to bounce back to winning ways.