Indian Super League champion Hyderabad FC entered the semifinals of the Durand Cup football tournament, defeating Rajasthan United FC 3-1 in the quarterfinals here on Monday.
Nigerian goal-machine Bartholomew Ogbeche (sixth minute) opened the scoring for the ISL champion, with Akash Mishra (45th) and Javier Siverio (69th) getting the other two. Uruguayan Martin Chavez scored off a penalty for Rajasthan in the 29th minute.
Mohammedan Sporting take on Mumbai City FC in the first semifinals on Wednesday while Hyderabad go up against Bengaluru FC a day later. Both the semifinals will be played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).
Manolo Marquez meant business from the word go when he started with Ogbeche and it was not long before the Nigerian got on the score sheet. Borja Herrera delivered the curler from the left flank and Ogbeche got ahead of his marker expertly and drilled a header past keeper Vishal Joon, beating him at the near post.
HFC did make the mistake of sitting back a bit after the goal, and to its credit, Rajasthan took the opportunity to mount attacks of its own. The pressure led to an inadvertent back-pass to the keeper and Rajasthan was awarded an indirect free-kick just outside the six-yard box.
Playmaker Martin Chavez, who had a very good game, tried to hit the roof of goal with a wall of Hyderabad players on the goal line, including keeper Kattimani.
The ball deflected back from the wall but in trying to clear it, Akash Mishra handled it inside the box and Rajasthan were awarded a penalty. Chavez calmly hoodwinked the keeper to draw Rajasthan level.
After having come close a few times, Akash Mishra made amends and he did it with a brilliant diagonal left-footed grounder from outside the box, which went like a bullet to beat the outstretched hands of Vishal Joon to nestle into the bottom left-corner.
Both coaches made a change each at the break. Joao Victor came in for Borja and Gyanmar Nikum was brought in place of William. It was end to end action in the second half with Hyderabad looking to widen the gap and Rajasthan for an equalizer.
Marquez made two crucial changes in the 68th minute which made the difference.
He brought in Halicharan Narzary and Nikhil Poojary in place of Chhangte and Yasir.
Seconds after coming on, Narzary delivered a perfect cross from the left flank for Siverio, and the Spaniard made no mistake with a first-time tap-in finish from close.
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