Hyderabad: It was so near yet so far as Hyderabad Football Club dominated most part of their Indian Super League match until a penalty kick in the 86th minute settled the score in favour of NorthEast United at the Gachibowli Stadium on Wednesday night.
Substitute Maximiliano Barreiro slotted the ball home from the spot after Shankar Sampingiraj was deemed to have handled the ball in the box by referee Om Prakash Thakur, much to the chagrin of the home side.
The visitors looked threatening early on as they made forays into the Hyderabad half only to be thwarted by an alert defence. NorthEast earned a corner in the second minute but wasted it as Nikhil Kadam’s delivery landed in no man’s territory before bouncing over the backline.
Action soon shifted to the other end with Hyderabad turning up in full force. Brazilian Marcelinho dodged a couple of defenders before unleashing a weakish shot with his right that brushed against the finger tips of goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury before rolling across.
Marcelinho lined up another freekick in the 11th minute but his floater found no takers.
In the 20th minute, Marcelinho again floated in a cross from the right but NorthEast defenders blocked out Gani Ahmed Nigam as he leapt to meet it.
Five minutes later, Hyderabad almost went ahead — Marko Stankovic’s shot curled inches away from the NorthEast goalpost. Another chance went abegging in the 32nd minute when Nigam failed to tip the ball over an on-rushing NorthEast goalie after a fine feed from Shankar close to the goalmouth.
NorthEast sniffed a chance in the 36th minute but Uruguayn striker Martin Chaves shot wide. On the other hand, Hyderabad earned a couple of corners right at half-time but could not capitalise.
NorthEast came out flying after the break and ran right into the Hyderabad territory.
They surely would have gone one-up had it not been for goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh saving a strong shot from Redeem Tlang.
In the 66th minute Hyderabad’s Rohit Kumar tried his luck with a long-ranger which goalie Subhasish got control of on the second attempt.
Four minutes later, Mohammed Yasir made a daunting run from the left, crossed the ball right in front of the NorthEast goal but none of the HFC players were around.
NorthEast had one more chance to go ahead, in the 78th minute but Tlang could not meet Rakesh Pradhan’s cross right in front of the goal....