Aridane Santana scored a final equalizer to help Hyderabad keep SK East Bengal 1-1 and thwarted Kolkata’s hopes of qualifying for the Indian Super League play-offs here on Friday.
The bright Enobahare scored in the 59th minute for SK East Bengal, which seemed to be moving towards victory until the equalizer from Santana. The result extended Nizams’ trouble-free run to nine games.
With a draw, Hyderabad is in third place with 24 points from 17 games, while SC EB is in ninth place with 17 points from so many games. Both sides have three games in the league phase.
Hyderabad FC made two changes to their XI game as Liston Colaco and Joel Kianese entered the game for Mohamed Yasser and Fran Sandaza, while SC East Bengal gave up faith in the same XI that beat Jamshedpur in the previous match.
The Nizams enjoyed better possession at first, but SCEB had more shots on target. The Kolkata country created more opportunities than Hyderabad in the first session.
However, Hyderabad was the first real chance in the game. Luis Sastre dispersed a defensive pass to Kianese, who managed to set his time and stay away. But Subrata Paul went out of his line to make a decisive save to deny them the lead.
Hyderabad combined several good passes, but were missing in the last third. They were rescued from behind by the superb Laxmikant Kattimani, who made three key saves.
Katimani first denied Ankit Mukherjee twice. Then Anthony Pilkington struck, only to see that he was facing from behind for a corner by awake Katimani.
Things intensified during the second session. After one team hit the ladder, the other scored against the course of the game.
Aridan Santana saw his efforts come off the beam before SC East Bengal took the lead. Clearing Raju Gaikwad off the field found Pilkington, who aimed the ball at Bright. The Nigerian made a dazzling run, defeating his marker Chinglensana Singh before shooting past striker Kattimani.
Hyderabad tried to respond immediately when Akash Mishra made a long shot, but his left-footed shot was inflicted by Subrata, who pushed him into a corner. Sandaza then threw the ball into the back of the net, but it was ruled offside.
SC East Bengal were lucky not to get a penalty at the end of the game. Bright walked past Katimani and came down under pressure from the trustee, but the referee showed no interest in appealing.
Then came Santana’s late leveling. Rohit Danu found Sandaza, who sent a low cross to the far post, and Santana eavesdropped closely.
Hyderabad dropped to 10 men when Yasir was shown a straight red card, but they held out for the tie.