Hero ISL: Hyderabad FC’s Road to the Final

Hyderabad FC stand on the brink of glory as they await the kick off of their maiden ISL final in quest of the coveted trophy against a team who are rather familiar with the big occasion themselves, Kerala Blasters.

This season has proved to be a historic campaign for the outfit from Hyderabad as they have reached the finals of the tournament for the first time in their history after finishing agonizingly close to top four in the 2020/21 season when they ended up placing fifth in the league phase.

But, there would be no slips ups of that sort this time around as Manolo Marquez’s team ended the league phase as runners up, second only to Jamshedpur.

The team dominated the group stages and finished the league phase as the most prolific team in the tournament by scoring 43 times in the 20 games they played. And went on to score 3 more in the semifinals against ATK Mohun Bagan.

The attack spearheaded by ISL’s all-time top scorer and this season’s goal charts leader Bartholomew Ogbeche has proven to be a menacing one for opposition defences to deal with.

The team from Telangana also boasts having eleven different goal scorers on the sheets throughout the season and sixteen different names registered on the assists tally.

The campaign in Goa this year was off to a rocky start for HFC as an opening game humbling against Chennaiyin FC raised some alarms. But, the Spaniard’s outfit stabilized their season there on out by going on an eight game unbeaten streak which included four wins and draws each. A run that was ironically ended by the eventual finalists Kerala Blasters.

But, Hyderabad did not let the setback affect them too much as they bounced back immediately with three consecutive wins against SC East Bengal, Odisha and North East United. The game against SC East Bengal witnessed an Ogbeche masterclass as he became the first player to record a hattrick for Hyderabad FC when he put three past the Red and Gold Brigade. The first one with a header, the second with a touch gliding the ball into the net after he had convincingly rounded the keeper and another clean strike to complete the special triplet.

HFC also managed to complete the double over four other franchises this season, namely, Odisha, North East United, Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC

Hyderabad managed to pick up all points on offer on 11 occasions during the league phase, while they shared the spoils with their opposition on 5 different nights. This was enough to ensure their passage into the final four when he went toe-to-toe with the Mariners of ATK Mohun Bagan.

Semi-Final Clash Against ATK Mohun Bagan:

Heading into the semi-finals Hyderabad FC had failed to get the better of the mariners on both regular occasions this season.

Losing one game by a score of 1-2 and drawing 2-2 in the other.

But the Hyderabadi unit did not let that hold them down as they romped to a 3-1 victory over ATKMB in the first leg of the last four.

The two goal cushion acted as insurance as they went down fighting in the return leg. Despite losing the second leg of the semi-finals 1-0 to the team from Kolkata, HFC managed to set up a date with destiny thanks to their aggregate in the fixture.

Finals Frontier:

Hyderabad gear up for the ultimate clash against third time finalists Kerala Blasters, who also look to win the title for the first time in what is assured to be an engaging encounter.

The two previous games between these two teams this season have ended with results going either ways on each occasion.

A 1-0 win for Kerala Blasters and a 2-1 win for Hyderabad FC.

A game poised as evenly as this is could be a tough one to call, but certain to be a show worthy of a final.

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