AFC Cup qualifier – Resilient ATKMB victorious against Hyderabad FC

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ATK Mohun Bagan FC emerged victorious in a tightly contested encounter at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on 3rd May 2023 to book their spot in the preliminary round of the AFC Cup 2023-2024. Dimitri Petratos opened the scoring for ATKMB before Chianese equalized for HFC in the first half. The score remained level for 120 minutes as the encounter was decided by a penalty shootout win by ATKMB with Kiyan Nassiri scoring the deciding spot-kick.

A fifth encounter between the two teams this season promised to be as enticing as it could get with ATKMB and Hyderabad having to endure disappointing campaigns in the Hero Super Cup with neither team managing to make it past the group stages.

Emotions flared high before the match as this was Manolo Marquez’s last match managing Hyderabad FC. He described this match as their “last dance” and promised a match with emotions riding high and both teams ensured that the promise was kept.

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Juan Ferrando’s men started strong with Ashique getting inside the HFC box and taking the first shot of the match from a tight angle in the 4th minute. The shot was overhit as the ball rose above the bar for a goal-kick.

The first quarter of the match was dominated by Manolo Marquez’s men with the Mariners struggling to find their footing and rhythm in the opening minutes. Vishal Kaith was kept busy as he had to stay alert and collect all the deliveries aimed at the HFC strikers.

The breakthrough for ATKMB happened against the run of play when their talisman, Petratos found the back of the net in the 20th minute after Boumous squared the ball for him to slot it in inside the HFC box.

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Tensions rose as Petratos and Sana broke into a tussle and both of them were shown a yellow card in the 24th minute. On another day it could have very well been a red card for Sana as he did raise his hand on Petratos.

HFC rattled the post in the 42nd minute as Yasir cut inside and went for goal with a thunderous grounded effort from outside the box. The ball beat Kaith at his near-post but rattled the woodwork and came back into play. Kaith was soon forced into another good save in the 44th minute when Chianese took a shot at goal following a quick HFC attack.

HFC’s efforts bore fruition as they finally found the equalizer through Chianese just before the break in the 44th minute. Borja, as he had been doing throughout the first half, got into the box from the left flank and squared the ball to Chianese who made no mistake with his side-footed effort.

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The 65th minute saw Aaren play a wonderful lobbied ball at Chianese who was in the middle of the opposition box. Chianese took a touch instead of shooting it first time which allowed the ISL Golden Glove winner, Kaith to come out and collect the ball.

Borja went for goal from a free kick in the 79th minute that looked to be on target. The shot took a slight deflection and went out for a corner kick. It looked troublesome for Kaith to deal with if the shot had not taken a deflection.

Hyderabad FC kept piling the pressure on the ATKMB defense with Subhasish Bose having to make a vital clearance in the 83rd minute to prevent Rabeeh from getting a simple tap-in after Akash Mishra burst into the ATKMB box and squared the ball into the middle.

Hyderabad should have scored the winner late in the stoppage time when ATKMB failed to clear the ball in their box and it fell to Chianese in the 93rd minute. He should have scored but his shot missed the target.

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Credits – ISL Media

90 minutes were up and emotions were at an all-time high as we saw Manolo Marquez being sent off for arguing with the referee over Halicharan not being awarded a freekick in the dying stages of the second half. It was an unfortunate end to Marquez’s final match as the Hyderabad FC coach.

Extra time saw the tempo of the game dip with fatigue kicking in for both teams. Neither team was being direct enough and late on it seemed both teams had accepted whatever fate the penalty shootout would bestow upon them.

The match went to penalties as Joao Victor and Dimitri Petratos scored the first penalties for their teams, but Sahil Tavora and Chianese missed their chances for Hyderabad FC as did Bagan’s Carl McHugh. Liston gave ATKMB the lead before Odei missed his penalty for the Nizams. Kiyan stepped up and converted the decisive penalty for ATKMB, securing their 3-1 shootout win and a place in the preliminary stages which could see them play in the AFC Cup for a third consecutive season.


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