It was a disappointing result for the Islanders as Marko Stankovic’s 93rd-minute penalty equalizer won bottom-placed side, Hyderbad FC a point at home. For the away side, Mohamed Larbi’s 2nd goal of the season from the penalty spot seemed enough to win the 3 points but in the end, the Islanders returned home with the solitary point.
The first few minutes of the game were scrappy as both sides looked to settle early into the encounter. Both sets of players were not looking comfortable with the ball at their feet.
The first big chance came in the 14th minute after some brilliant work from Sarthak Golui down the right side. His cross was headed back by Diego Carlos and Larbi put the ball in the back of the net but the linesman raised his flag for a goal-kick. The replays, however, suggested that the ball was well inside the line, continuing the trend of questionable refereeing in the 2019-20 Hero ISL campaign.
In the 19th minute, Amine Chermiti created a glorious chance for Diego. His through ball put the Brazilian one-on-one with the goalkeeper but his first-time effort was saved by Laxmikant Kattimani. From thereon, both sides didn’t seem to threaten much as the defenders were comfortably dealing with the long balls and crosses that were thrown towards them.
Sourav Das was booked for stopping Marcelo Pereira during a counter-attack. The resulting free-kick saw Marko Stankovic test Amrinder Singh from distance but our no.1 didn’t have to move an inch and collected the ball with ease. A couple of minutes later, Serge Kevyn created half a chance after cutting back to his left but his effort was wide of the goal.
Just when it seemed like a goalless first-half, the Islanders were awarded a penalty for a handball by Nikhil Poojary and the defender was shown a yellow card as well. Up stepped the reliable Mohamed Larbi and he made no mistake from 12 yards out by slotting the ball in the right bottom corner. The Islanders had a one-goal lead at the break.
The hosts made a change at the break as Sahil Panwar replaced Laldanmawia Ralte. Once again, the game entered a cagey mode with both sides not looking very threatening in the early stages of the second half. The first chance of the half came Diego’s way but his low shot was straight at Kattimani.
In the 58th minute, Pratik Chaudhari came up with a timely tackle just before Bobo looked to pull the trigger. Just after the hour mark, the game opened up all of a sudden with the game being played end-to-end but without any end product.
Hyderabad FC made their second change by bringing Abhishek Halder on for Mohammed Yasir in the 64th minute. The home side nearly got an equalizer through a set-piece opportunity. Matthew Kilgallon rose above his marker and headed the ball towards goal but his effort was just wide. It was a let-off for the Islanders.
The Boss, Jorge Costa made his first substitution as he introduced Raynier Fernades in place of Amine Chermiti. The move saw Serge Kevyn take up the role upfront. The Gabonese forward was booked for dissent in the 73rd minute as a decision didn’t go in his favour. A minute later, Kilgallon saw another header go wide of the goal as the home side were hoping to get something out from the game.
Diego made a good run down the right before sending in a low dangerous cross towards the far post. It looked like Kevyn would tap the ball for a 2-0 lead but Adil Khan’s last-ditch tackle took the ball away from his reach. At the other end, Pratik Chaudhari was booked for a challenge on Nikhil Poojary. It was the fourth booking for the defender and he will be suspended for the next game.
Raynier Fernandes had a golden opportunity to go through on goal after he barged through the Hyderabad midfield with some serious pace. The Mumbai-born midfielder won the ball latching onto a loose pass but the referee blew his whistle for an alleged handball by Raynier. Once again, the TV replays would disagree.
Both sides made changes as Bidyananda Singh and Bipin Singh replaced Sourav Das and Mohamed Larbi in the 79th minute and 85th minute respectively. For the home side, Giles Barnes came on for Nikhil Poojary in the 84th minute.
The game was far from over as Hyderabad FC won a penalty into stoppage time. Pratik Chaudhari was adjudged to have fouled Bobo into the box in the 92nd minute. Marko Stankovic calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner and salvaged a point for the bottom dwellers.
In the end, the missed chances came back to haunt Jorge Costa and his side as they missed out on an opportunity to move into the 4th spot. Up next for the Islanders is a home game against NorthEast United FC on 31st January.