ISL Semifinals: Balayogi stalemate sets up Salt Lake decider


Last year at this very stage, Manolo’s Hyderabad FC trashed Bagan’s dreams. In the green-and-maroon’s third consecutive ISL semifinals appearance, they were set to face the same side again.

This time around, ATK Mohun Bagan played out a draw against hosts Hyderabad FC at the Gachibowli Stadium in an intriguingly-fought game. Goalkeepers from both sides shone to keep a goalless scoreline at full-time. This sets up another much anticipated Salt Lake decider in the Indian Super League.

Highest Home attendance for the Nizams

The First leg of the semifinal recorded a record attendance for Hyderabad this season. People from all over Hyderabad came over to support their local team; some with drums, some with family, and some with binoculars.

Hyderabad were the better team in the first half

Despite having only 43% possession in the first half, Hyderabad FC put more pressure on the goal. However, it was ATK Mohun Bagan with the best chance of the game.

Javier Siverio being the #9 got support from the three behind him, i.e, Chianese, Halicharan, and Yasir. As per the regular tactics, Hali put in the crosses, Yasir dribbled inside while Chianese found himself into scoring positions.

It was probably the first time Juan Ferrando’s team played this direct in the entire season.

Pritam missed from roughly a yard out

In the 38th minute, a Petratos set-piece delivery found Subhashish Bose who squared it with his head but Pritam Kotal, who was being pressurized by Borja Herrera, hit the crossbar from roughly a yard out and everyone was left in shock.

What seemed like a tap-in chance, went anywhere but inside. That should probably be submitted as the miss-of-the-season contender.

Kaith is past his redemption

ISL Semifinals
Vishal Kaith and Gurmeet Singh after a solid shift [ISL]

Getting more stabilized each game, Vishal Kaith has played a vital part in ATK Mohun Bagan’s run so far. Last season at Chennaiyin, Bozidar Bandovic benched him for 11 games but now he is the Golden Gloves leader under Ferrando. He was an early runner for the golden gloves last season but his place in the team faded out.

Having been bought in by ATK Mohun Bagan, Vishal Kaith had a shot at redemption. He got better with games and here we are.

Early on in the game, he kept a Chianese header out. Halicharan Narzary put in a precise cross from the left which connected sweetly to the Aussie’s head. “That could be a match-winning save”, exclaimed Phil Brown in the commentary.

Ashish vs Akash

A valiant feature of this fixture is two of the best Indian full-backs going head to head. The little sprint they had down the touchline caught the attention of the feed. Probably leaving the locals reminiscing about a time not long back when these two were pivotal in the finals success.

For his mountain defending, Slavko Damjanovic was adjudged hero of the match.

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ISL Semifinals: Balayogi stalemate sets up Salt Lake decider 7e9ad369a70f4284799c8360314444e2?s=96&d=monsterid&r=g
Chetan Anand
Radars Football, Cricket and Motorsports

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