Record breaker: Bartholomew Ogbeche’s season of dominance, glory and triumph

A crown jewel in Hyderabad FC’s ranks, Bartholomew Ogbeche headlined for taking the club to greater heights, heights they had never achieved before in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), culminating into first title win and the Golden Boot Award.

Fighting till the penultimate fixture for the League Winners’ Shield, qualifying for the semi-final for the first time, and ultimately lifting the Hero ISL title trophy was a campaign that has classified Hyderabad FC as a force to be reckoned with.

The success comes after Hyderabad FC narrowly missed out on qualifying for the semi-final in the 2020-21 season, finishing fifth, just two points away.

The blockbuster season was led by Ogbeche who showcased that age is just a number. Going strong at 37 years, Ogbeche proved the right fit for Hyderabad FC to turn their last season’s fate around.

Replacing Aridane Santana, an experienced Ogbeche is what Hyderabad FC required to compliment the young contingent consisting of Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Hitesh Sharma and Mohammad Yasir.

Under Manuel Marquez, Ogbeche played as the first-choice striker which proved to work wonders. By the end of the season, Ogbeche broke Sunil Chhetri’s record to become Hero ISL’s most prolific goal-scorer with 53 goals in 77 matches.

More importantly, Ogbeche helped Hyderabad FC dominate opponents, scoring 18 goals for the club this season along with an assist. Ogbeche displayed that he can single handedly turn any contest in their favour as was seen in the semi-final match against ATK Mohun Bagan. The final berth and Hero ISL trophy was slipping away from Hyderabad FC’s grasp when the Mariner’s were leading by 1-0, thanks to Roy Krishna’s goal in 18th minute.

Ogbeche breathed life into the match at the cusp of half-time which changed the direction altogether. Equalling the record for the most goals in a single season, the goal machine headed home from Yasir’s delivery to restore parity and dent ATK Mohun Bagan’s ambitions.

Thanks to Ogbeche’s goal-scoring prowess, Hyderabad FC finished the league stage with most goals – 43. The striker also had the joint-most shots on target (32) sharing the record with Kerala Blasters FC’s Alvaro Vasquez.

The Nigerian forward's contribution to Hyderabad FC’s high-flying season of success finds a special space in all the fans’ hearts for what he has done in realising the clubs longstanding dream.

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