Hero Club Playoffs: ATK Mohun Bagan pip Hyderabad FC on penalties, book AFC Cup berth
ATK Mohun Bagan beat Hyderabad FC 3-1 on penalties in the Hero Club Playoffs at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala, on Wednesday to seal a spot in the preliminary round of the AFC Cup 2023-24.
Dimi Petratos and Joel Chianese scored the goals for ATK Mohun Bagan and Hyderabad FC, respectively, before the game went into the penalty shootout, where Joao Victor was the only player to score for Hyderabad, while Petratos, Liston Colaco, and Kiyan Nassiri netted their respective penalties for ATK Mohun Bagan. Meanwhile, Sahil Tavora, Chianese, and Odei Zabala missed their respective spot-kicks for Hyderabad FC.
Hyderabad were the ones who started off the quicker of the two, controlling the game and also passing the ball with pace in midfield, Mohammed Yasir and Joao Victor the architects of everything good for them.
ATK Mohun Bagan, though, have been known to punish even the slightest of errors and so it proved, when against the run of play to some extent, they opened the scoring. Hugo Boumous dribbled into the box from the right, before cutting the ball back on the top of the six-yard box to Dimi Petratos, who slammed it into the roof of the net to give ATK Mohun Bagan the lead.
Hyderabad, to their credit, did not let their heads drop, and if anything, took more control of the ball, constantly switching flanks, patiently building up play. A host of chances also fell their way, the best of the lot supplied by Akash Mishra, who from the left flank, did exactly what Boumous had done from ATKMB’s right. The finish from Borja, though, was lacking.
When it arrived, it came in much the same way, two minutes before halftime. This time, Borja turned supplier, cutting the ball back from the byline for Chianese to apply the finish.
#HFCATKMB was finally settled after 1️⃣2️⃣0️⃣' of football + Penalties which saw @atkmohunbaganfc reach the 2023-24 #AFCCup preliminary round! 🟢🔴#HeroClubPlayoffs #LetsFootball #HyderabadFC #ATKMohunBagan pic.twitter.com/0YAWazG508— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) May 3, 2023
In a second half played mostly to the tunes of Hyderabad FC, chances were few and far between, with the best of the lot falling to Chianese in injury time. This time the Australian shot wide from six yards, when perhaps putting it in the goal was easier.
The tense finish and some tough and close refereeing calls led to tempers flowing at the final whistle. It eventually led to a red card for Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez, who was dismissed to the stands.
Both teams were cautious in extra time, the fear of making an error superseding the need to find a winner. Hyderabad spurned multiple half chances in both periods of extra time, but the best chance fell to Liston Colaco with minutes left to play. Having been played through on goal by a brilliant through ball from midfield, Colaco drove into the box, with only goalkeeper Anuj Kumar to beat. He opened his body and tried to chip the goalkeeper, but it went over the crossbar.
Both teams scored their opening penalties, before Hyderabad FC’s next three shooters somehow missed the target entirely. Despite Anuj pulling off one superb save off Carl McHugh, it wasn’t enough. Hyderabad collapsed in agony, missing out on a chance at history. For ATK Mohun Bagan, as has become their won’t in recent years, the AFC Cup Preliminary Round beckons.