Hyderabad FC (HFC) seemed destined to seal three points after leading by 1-0 for majority of the match against Jamshedpur FC (JFC) after Aridane Santana scored in the 50th minute. Jamshedpur clawed back into the game when centre-back Stephen Eze unleashed a superb strike in the 85th minute to rescue a point for Owen Coyle's men on Wednesday in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21.
The draw maintained HFC's unbeaten start to the season and took it to third in the ISL table, while JFC moved up a place in the eighth above Kerala Blasters FC.
In an open-ended game, there were plenty of chances while two big decisions by referee Raktim Saha left both JFC manager Owen Coyle and HFC boss Manuel Marquez fuming at the end.
Jamshedpur denied goal, Marquez sees red
Jamshedpur will feel hard done by the referee's decision to cancel its 71st minute goal where the attacking team seemed to have done no mistake. Winger Isaac Vanmalsawma whipped in a free kick from the right which was straight at goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani which the Hyderabad custodian managed to palm away. However, his clearance was poor as it bounced off his teammate Aridane Santana's arm and fell into the net.
ISL 2020-21 news: Jamshedpur's disallowed goal against Hyderabad leads to confusion
Saha, who consulted the linesman, ruled out the goal as he considered Jamshedpur defender Peter Hartley had handled the ball inside the area. In the final minutes of the game, HFC coach Marquez was baffled to receive a red card as the referee pointed out that he had stepped out of the technical area. After a first week with no major refereeing complaints from the teams, these two incidents are sure to put the spotlight on the match officials.
Yasir, Halicharan shine
Hyderabad was the better team by a mile in the first half as it made full use of the wide areas to create big chances. Mohammed Yasir was one of the best players on the pitch with his work rate and passing as he had two shots at the goal. The 22-year old displayed telepathic understanding with Liston Colaco, often switching places and threatening with his set-piece deliveries.
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Halicharan Narzary on the left wing was a menace throughout the first half as his trickery was too much to handle for Laldinliana Renthlei. He almost put Hyderabad 1-0 up in the 43rd minute when he cut in from the byline and shot at the far post which came off the woodwork. It was a similar move which helped HFC gain the lead in the 50th minute, when his curling strike came off the keeper and fell for Santana to poke home.
Going gets tough for Valskis
Last season's Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis, who has 3 goals from the first two matches, endured an off day as he registered just one shot ion the goal in the entire match. The star striker cut out a frustrated figure as his movement was restricted by an excellent Hitesh Sharma, while none of the long balls hit by keeper Pawan Kumar reached him.
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The Lithuanian decided to drift wide on the left to get rid of his marker and created a good chance for Jackichand Singh, which drew a save out of Kattimani. However, he would be relieved that Eze's goal was able to prevent what looked like a frustrating loss for JFC.