Felt confident before penalty shootout: Hyderabad FC’s Laxmikant Kattimani recalls Hero ISL final heroics
Hyderabad FC produced many heroes on their way to becoming Hero Indian Super League (ISL) champions but the one that put a seal on their first-ever title was goalkeeper Laxmkant Kattimani who made three saves in the penalty shootout against Kerala Blasters FC in the final.
The Hyderabad FC custodian was a beaten finalist with FC Goa in 2015 and made an error that almost proved to be costly that led to the Kerala Blasters FC goal. However, Sahil Tavora’s screamer sent the match into extra-time and then into penalties.
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Kattimani recalled how he felt confident before the shootout despite being under enormous pressure.
“I was very confident about the penalties, when I went to face the first penalty then I could see that the penalty taker was under pressure, I tried to put him under more pressure and went on the right way,” Kattimani was quoted as saying by IFTWC.com.
“The second penalty was taken by Nishu, even though I was on the line, the referee gave a retake and even in the second penalty I was confident that it was going to be on the right so I went on the right and saved it,” he added.
Kattimani revealed how he played on the pressure the penalty takers faced during the shootout and did his bit to add more pressure on the takers. As things panned out, Kattimani won the mental battle.
“It is difficult for the players who take penalties more than the players who save them cause they are more under pressure than us as they have to walk all the way from the half-line spot thinking about how to score the penalty and also keep listening to what the crowd is saying but for a goalkeeper it is only one decision,” he said.
“I know I made an error in the 90 minutes but Sahil Tavora scored an amazing goal and equalised it, we played well even during the extra 30 minutes and when the penalties came up I was sure that I would save at least one or two but I made three saves,” he added.
Kattimani had a great season in goal for Hyderabad FC and head coach Manuel Marquez called him the best goalkeeper in the Hero ISL.
The Indian veteran’s ability to play with his feet was highlighted as a key quality that made him vital to his plans, insisted Marquez.
Despite the error in the regulation time in the final, Marquez would be hoping to keep Kattimani next season as he looks to repeat this season’s heroics with Hyderabad FC.