Hyderabad FC brushed aside the disappointment of the losses in the first two games to script a remarkable comeback win (2-1) after trailing at half-time against Kerala Blasters FC at the Gachibowli Stadium here on Saturday night.
Finally, Phil Brown’s boys produced the kind of football, especially in the second half, the soccer-crazy Hyderabadis were looking forward to in its first home game.
It was Kerala which took the lead in the 34th minute thanks to the efficacy of the K.P. Rahul and Sahal Abdul Samad, who combined well close to the ‘D’. First, Rahul essayed a short lob to Sahal, who in turn relayed a neat throughpass which Rahul latched on to in the 34th minute to the delight of the large contingent of Kerala fans in the stands.
It was not as if Hyderabad was outplayed in this first period for it missed couple of chances. Forward Marcelinho Pereira had a long run in the 17th minute down the centre but couldn’t get the better of the closely marking defender Mohamad Rakip.
But Kerala Blasters constantly shifted gears thanks to the enterprising duo of Rahul and Sahal on the left flank and the frequent forays by the captain Bartholomew Ogbeche from the centre.
Just before the break, Hyderabad FC’s Marcelo charged down the centre only to be thwarted by an alert custodian T.P Rehenesh in the 44th minute.
In the second half, it was a totally different Hyderabad FC which went on the offensive from the word go.
To the delight of the home team fans, a foul by Mouhamadou Moustapha on Mohammed Yasir saw Hyderabad FC earn a penalty in the 54th minute which was smartly converted by midfielder Marko Stankovic, who put the ball to the left of the goalkeeper, who dived to his right, triggering off celebrations among the Hyderabad fans.
Ironically, it was another foul by Moustapha on Nikhil Poojary which saw Hyderabad FC earn a free-kick in the 81st minute. A stunner by the mercurial Marcelo whose left-footer curled into the left corner of the goal to the dismay of the Kerala camp.
In the closing stages, Hyderabad custodian and captain Kamaljit Singh put up a brilliant show and made some crucial saves as he was ably backed by rock-solid defenders Matthew Shaun, Gurtej Singh.