Goa: Hyderabad FC began its Indian Super League Season 7 campaign with a solitary goal win over Odisha FC, at the GMC Stadium in Goa.
Debutant Aridane Santana (35’) netted a penalty that proved to be the difference between the two sides, as Hyderabad kept its first-ever clean sheet in the league. Hyderabad was all over Odisha’s territory in the opening minutes of the game, forcing its opponent to play deep.
It won a series of corners in the first 10 minutes and nearly capitalised for a goal. The Nizams’ first real chance arrived in the 6th minute when Lluis Sastre whipped a perfect delivery into the box but Santana failed to direct his header towards goal.
That the visitor had worked on its set-pieces was evident. A smartly-executed corner in the 10th minute saw Akash Mishra force Odisha goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh into a save.
Odisha looked to play its normal game, maintaining possession and carrying the fight to its opponent. But it was a little too predictable and Hyderabad’s defenders were able to deal with it without too much discomfort.
After constant probing, Hyderabad got its reward in the form of a penalty. Aridane Santana played Halicharan Narzary clear on goal, and his effort was handled by Odisha skipper Steven Taylor. Santana kept his composure and slotted home in the 35th minute.