Aridane Santana’s first half penalty gave Hyderabad FC all three points against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Monday. Despite the narrow scoreline, the Nizams were deserving winners after dominating for much of the game and creating quite a few goal-scoring chances. Read on for the key observations from the match.
The Good: Liston Colaco’s impressive second-half cameo
22-year-old Liston Colaco came on in the second half for Mohammad Yasir and immediately caught the eye. The former FC Goa attacker was at the heart of everything positive for Hyderabad FC in their attacking transitions and wowed everyone with his intelligent turns. On one occasion he gave Odisha FC defender Gaurav Bora the eye before turning in the other direction with his back to goal. It opened up an enormous amount of space on the right but they were unable to do anything meaningful with the chance eventually.
He came closest in the 66th minute when he picked the ball up on the halfway line and made a 40 yard dash past two defenders before shooting just wide. Moreover, he earned his side four free-kicks in and around the penalty area with his trickery and dribbling.
90+5' FULL-TIME: That is it! We start out @IndSuperLeague campaign with an assured display over Odisha FC. Aridane's goal separates the two sides. Our first win and also our first clean sheet.
— Hyderabad FC (@HydFCOfficial) November 23, 2020
The Bad: Hyderabad FC’s finishing
It could easily have been three or four for Hyderabad FC if not for their profligacy in front of goal. Santana, Joao Victor, Halicharan Narzary and Liston Colaco all came close to adding a second goal but failed to capitalize on some average Odisha defending. Eventually, the match ended 1-0, the third such scoreline in this season’s ISL in four matches.
In midfield, Lluis Sastre was instrumental for Hyderabad FC as he controlled the tempo of the game and sprayed passes all over the pitch. He completely dominated the right side of their midfield and a lot of times, his long balls were helpful in overloading one side and then playing a dangerous cross in. However, none of the chances, set-piece or otherwise, yielded a second goal and this is something that head coach Manuel Marquez would want to rectify.
The Ugly: Odisha FC’s aerial defending
Head coach Stuart Baxter would be quite disappointed with the way his side defended crosses throughout the match. Despite possessing the height of Steven Taylor at the back, Odisha FC never looked comfortable defending aerial crosses. Their man-marking was especially flawed as they left Aridane Santana free on multiple occasions.
The Spanish striker bothered and bullied the young Indian backline of Odisha consistently throughout the match. He probably should have bagged at least one more goal on the night. The only bright spark for Odisha seemed to be Shubham Sarangi who looked confident on the ball and while defending.