Was a dream for me to win on this ground, I did it today: Hyderabad FC’s Laxmikant Kattimani

After lifting the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) title at the PJN Stadium in Goa, Hyderabad FC players gave their reactions to their win over Kerala Blasters FC in the penalty shootout that will go down in the annals of Hero ISL history as Hyderabad FC’s memorable quest.

A night to remember for Hyderabad FC’s custodian, Laxmikant Kattimani, who buried the unpleasant memories of Hero ISL 2015 final to create new beautiful ones. Taking down critics from his defining performance on the night of the Hero ISL 2021-22 final, Kattimani realised his long, unfulfilled dream.

“Definitely. It was a dream for me to win on this ground and I did it today. I am happy for the whole team. My brother (Sahil Tavora) scored an excellent goal that took us to extra time,” said Kattimani in the post-match interview.

Kattimani gave head coach Manuel Marquez the credit for the club’s success this season after last year narrowly missing out on the semi-final spot to becoming present-day champions.

“Our coach Manuel. He kept us up every day, asking us to play compact. We did our job and you can see at the end of the season that we are the champions of the Hero ISL.”

Alongside him, stood the star of the evening Sahil Tavora who scored the equaliser in the dying minutes of the match, taking the clash into extra-time.

“After a long time, the fans were back in the stadium. It was a great atmosphere here. Obviously, Manjapadda are a very loud fan group and they are really awesome fans. Deccan Legion, the Hyderabad FC fans, also put on a great show. My family and friends were here too. So, it was a great moment for me. Kattimani here deserves all the credit. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him, throughout the entire season.

“We have a coach who is demanding and he demands 100% every day and in every game. So, we know we have to be on it. For example, in the second leg against ATK Mohun Bagan, we didn’t do our best. He told us that today we have to put on a show and give our best and that’s what we did,” added Sahil.

The club decided to stick with Marquez and backed him to lead the club to glory. Striker Joel Chianese felt that after last season’s heartbreak it was a deserving reward for everyone at Hyderabad FC.

“Hyderabad FC came close last year, it was heartbreaking. In the last game, we were really pushing and we couldn’t make it. So, everyone to do that this season, is just rewarding for everyone. We really deserve to make it here and it was a tough battle tonight,” said Chianese.

Meanwhile, the young full-back playing in front of the crowd in the Hero ISL, Akash Mishra deemed the match as the best moment of his life.

“This is the best moment of my life. This is the first ISL game I am playing in front of a crowd. At the start of the match, I was a bit nervous but as the game went on, it felt like a normal game. In the last, we won the trophy and that’s all that matters.” stated Mishra.

Although reliving the moment of winning the title alongside Mumbai City FC last season, Bartholomew Ogbeche congratulated tough opponents Kerala Blasters FC after an enthralling finish to the final.

“It was a very good match. Kerala Blasters FC are a good opponent but I think we deserve it. Since last year, when we couldn’t enter the semi-finals and this year we couldn’t fight for the Shield because of the Covid-19 situation but finally, we could get there. Congratulations to Kerala as well for their game and it was difficult for us,” signed off Ogbeche.

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