2020-21 Indian Super League, Regular Season
  • Francisco Sandaza (58', 63' PEN)
  • Aridane (86')
  • João Victor (90'+1')

ISL 2020-21: Four-star Hyderabad end Kerala Blasters' playoff hopes

Hyderabad players celebrate a goal vs Kerala Blasters. Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for ISL

A brace from Francisco Sandaza (58', 63' PEN) and a goal apiece from Aridane (86') and João Victor helped Hyderabad FC end Kerala Blasters' hopes of making the top four with a 4-0 thrashing on Tuesday. The win helped Hyderabad go third and regain control of their own playoff hopes.

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Kerala were on top for the majority of the opening half, registering four shots on target compared to Hyderabad's zero. Hyderabad looked livelier towards the end of the first half but it only showed when Joel Chianese shifted from the flanks towards the middle. However, inefficiency in the final third from both sides meant that the scoreline remained goalless at the break.

A howler from Kerala keeper Albino Gomes in the 21st minute almost gifted Hyderabad the opener. He made a mess while attempting to clear a long ball before Costa Nhamoinesu cleared it out of danger. Hyderabad had another big chance seconds later, as Victor whipped a teasing cross in the box for Santana, who blazed his header over the bar.

While Hyderabad eventually grew in the game, a defensive mistake from them in the 39th minute almost handed Kerala the opening goal. Prasanth Karuthadathkuni pounced on a miscued backward pass by Akash Mishra before firing a shot that went straight to Hyderabad keeper Laxmikant Kattimani.

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Throughout this season, Hyderabad have always come out stronger in the second half, scoring more goals after the break. And they did that again, breaking the deadlock when Sandaza stabbed home from close range after a miscommunication between Bakary Kone and Costa.

Four minutes later, another blunder from Gomes saw Hyderabad double their advantage. Chianese latched on to a poor back pass from Kone before being clipped by Gomes inside the box. Sandaza converted the penalty with a calm panenka finish.

Hyderabad continued to pile on the pressure and Santana joined the party late on after heading in Lluis Sastre's freekick. In injury time, Santana turned creator, flicking the ball on from a cross towards Victor, who scored a simple tap-in.