Hyderabad FC qualified for their maiden Indian Super League final after 3-2 win on aggregate over ATK Mohun Bagan despite losing the second leg of the semi-final 0-1 on Wednesday.
Roy Krishna scored in the 79th minute to give ATKMB a glimmer of hope but in the end, it was not enough for the finalists of last season as Hyderabad booked a final date with Kerala Blasters.
Hyderabad had won the first leg 3-1 through goals from Bartholomew Ogbeche, Yasir Mohammad and Javier Siverio.
The summit clash will be played at the PJN Stadium at Margao on Sunday.
Hyderabad head coach Manolo Marquez fielded the same team that won the first leg 3-1 while Juan Ferrando made a few changes to the ATKMB side from the last game with the ever-dependable centre-back Tiri being left out due to injury he picked up in the last game.
Kiyan Nassiri — who scored a memorable hat-trick in the Kolkata derby earlier this season — got a start.
ATKMB looked the likelier of the two teams to take the lead in the opening exchanges, with the Mariners needing two goals at least to make a comeback.
Liston Colaco was proving to be a handful for the Hyderabad defenders as he time and again put Nim Dorjee Tamang to the sword with his runs.
Colaco’s industry could have paid dividends soon but he curled his effort just wide of target after dribbling past a few Hyderabad shirts inside the box. The local boy then tried to set up Krishna with a similar run but Yasir Mohammad did well to keep the Fijian striker at bay.
There was no stopping Colaco as he shimmied past a few defenders post the drinks break and took a swipe at goal only for Laxmikant Kattimani to pull off a stunning save with his outstretched leg.
At the other end, Aniket Jadhav spurned a gilt-edged chance to make it 4-1 on aggregate for Hyderabad from a Yasir assist, nodding a free header from five yards, wide.
The best chance of the half, though, fell to Hugo Boumous who could not stab home from handshaking distance after a pin-point Prabir Das cross set him up perfectly, with the French-Moroccan sliding in to get a touch on the ball but only dragging his effort wide.
Just before the breather, Joni Kauko shot wide, to sum up ATKMB’s half of missed opportunities.
Hyderabad suffered a blow early on in the second half when Sauvik Chakrabarti had to come off due to an injury and Sahil Tavora replaced him.
ATKMB kept piling on one attack after another as Hyderabad sat back and defended deep. Ferrando took off Sandesh Jhingan and threw in Manvir Singh, going all out in search of goals.
There were huge appeals for a penalty when Joni Kauko was brought down by Akash Mishra but replays showed he was tackled just outside the box.
The goal came from a likely source for ATKMB as Colaco showed his magic again down the left flank, bursting down that side to cross from the byline at the far post where Krishna was on hand to slam home from close.
ATKMB threw in the towel in the last 10 minutes but it proved to be too tall an order for them in the end as they succumbed to a semifinal exit.