We are very happy as we qualify for semi-finals for the first time: Hyderabad FC’s Manuel Marquez

Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez was pleased with his team's performance as they secured a semi-final spot after defeating Kerala Blasters FC 2-1 in Match 99 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Wednesday.

Hyderabad FC created history as they qualified for the Hero ISL semi-finals for the first time in their history, thanks to Bartholomew Ogbeche and Javier Siverio's strikes. Vincy Barreto scored the consolation goal for Kerala Blasters FC in the end, however, went in vain.

With this win, Hyderabad FC further consolidated its position at the top of the table with 35 points, while Kerala Blasters FC stays in fifth place with 27 points from 17 outings.

Marquez addressed the media after the game in the post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference:

What are the emotions right now after qualifying for the semi-finals?

We are very happy. First of all, if you allow me, I want to dedicate this semi-final qualification to all the players and members of the staff. We couldn't qualify last season when we deserved it. The second thing is that people in Indian football should know that the coach of Kerala Blasters entered our room to congratulate our team for qualifying. This is the level of the coaches that Hero ISL needs personally.

You are the first team to qualify for the semi-finals. How important is it to not lose focus in the remaining matches?

The first goal was to arrive in the top-four. Now, we have to play two games. We have to try to win both. If we win against Jamshedpur FC then we can surpass them but it will depend on ATK Mohun Bagan's match outcome. But now we are happy, we will celebrate tonight in the hotel. After this, we will think about the next game because if you are in this situation you have to keep going. Let's see if we can beat a very good team like Jamshedpur.

Do you think the last-minute goal could have been avoided?

We are very happy this is the first time in the history of Hyderabad FC that we have qualified for the playoffs. But it's true that in the last few games we could have played better. Today more or less we controlled the game but in some moments Kerala Blasters created clear chances. Yes, you can always avoid one goal at the last minute. But now the most important thing for our team is that we have qualified for the top four.

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