The 2021/22 Indian Super League final is set. Hyderabad FC joined Kerala Blasters in the cup clash on Sunday, March 20, after the former overcame last year’s finalists ATK Mohun Bagan over two legs.
Three years ago, in their debut season as the rebranded Hyderabad, the club finished bottom of the Indian Super League table with a measly tally of 10 points from 18 games. Having finished fifth the following year and narrowly missing out on the Shield during the current season, the Nizams are into the final, where they will face Kerala Blasters for a chance to win the second stage of the competition.
Despite trailing 3-1 from the first leg, ATK Mohun Bagan were, by far, the more dominant of the two sides at the GMC Athletic Stadium on Wednesday night. That dominance was prevalent straight from the get-go, with two early half-chances falling to Joni Kauko and Roy Krishna – barely fifteen minutes in. Liston Colaco curled a shot just wide of the post in the 21st minute while, in the very next play, Bartholomew Ogbeche’s effort, at the other end, was comfortably saved by Amrinder Singh.
Prabir Das was a source of constant threat for Hyderabad FC on the night; the ATK Mohun Bagan wing-back drilled in dangerous crosses across the six-yard box on either side of the break, but neither Hugo Boumous nor Krishna could apply the finishing touch.
The only goal of the night was, indeed, the result of a cross, albeit from the opposite flank and from the feet of Liston, who hung the ball in the air for the Fijian international to smash in at the back post.
It took the Mariners 79 minutes to break the deadlock, and, despite an all-out attacking surge for whatever time that remained, they were unable to beat Laxmikant Kattimani again. Despite the narrow 1-0 loss, Hyderabad’s 3-1 advantage from the first leg carried them through to the final, which they will compete in at the end of the current week against two-time finalists KBFC.