In the last Indian Super League match before the playoffs on Sunday, Kerala Blasters FC lost 1-0 to Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, meaning they failed to end the league season with the best home record. The Blasters suffered their third straight defeat as Borja Herrera scored the game's lone goal in the 29th minute for the reigning champions. Marko Leskovic quickly stopped Javier Silva's goal-bound attempt from close range in the first 10 minutes of the game. Joel Chianese, who took an additional touch before volleying it against the crossbar, received the rebound. Three minutes later, Adrian Luna noticed Vibin Mohanan hiding on the edge of the box, and the hosts nearly scored first. He attempted to curl it into the top right corner but saw it sail wide as the Uruguayan squared it from the left side straight into his path. The visitors took the lead in the 29th minute thanks to Borja Herrera. Sahil Tavora's brilliant midfield run that saw him cut into the middle from the right before feeding Halicharan Narzary on the left set up the move. The winger brought it back into the penalty area, where Herrera successfully placed a first-time effort inside the far post. Kerala Blasters FC attempted to connect together a few passes in the first 10 minutes of the second half in an effort to trouble the Hyderabad FC defence. Unfortunately, the attackers blundered in the final third as some opportunities were missed and others were stopped by the defence of the visitors.
Four minutes after the hour mark, the Blasters were given a good chance when replacement Joao Victor took down Luna close to the outside of the box. Victor and his teammates exhaled a big sigh of relief when the Uruguayan picked it up and fired it over the bar. In the final four minutes, two Hyderabad FC replacements worked effectively together but were unable to end the game. Aaren D'Silva was unmarked as Abdul Anjukandan sent an attractive ball into the area and found him directly in front of the goal. The attacker's header was off-target, but Hyderabad FC managed to hold on to earn all three points and record their tenth shutout of the year. Now that the 2022–23 ISL league stage is finished, attention is turning to the playoffs, where both of these clubs will meet once again. Hyderabad FC will play in the two-leg semifinal on March 9 and 13 against either ATK Mohun Bagan or Odisha FC after securing second place. On March 3, Kerala Blasters FC will meet their bitter rival Bengaluru FC in the first round of the playoffs.
ISL 2023: Hyderabad FC End League Phase By Beating Kerala Blasters In Kochi
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