Tuesday, 27 January 2015

I-League: Dempo score first win, 3-0 over Sporting Goa!

Dempo SC had no problems in putting it across Sporting Clube de Goa 3-0 for their first victory in the I-League 2014/15 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao on Tuesday.

Goals from Lenny Rodrigues (28'), Alwyn George (50') and Francis Fernandes (90+') were enough for Dempo to grab the three points. They led 1-0 at the break and dominated the second session after Sporting Clube defender Joseph Clemente was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 47th minute.

Dempo SC and Sporting Goa both had injury concerns and fielded comparatively weaker squads. While Sporting Goa handed a starting spot to Sumeet Passi on top, there was no place for Portuguese defender Miguel Garcia or Australian striker Boima Karpeh, both of whom were left on the bench.

Dempo on the other hand were severely crippled as Tolgay Ozbey, Haroon Amiri, Fulgancio Cardozo were all left out of the squad. There were more worries for coach Arthur Papas as Peter Carvalho limped out with a calf strain when the match was just six minutes old and his place had to be taken by young Germanpreet Singh.

The injuries, though, had no impact on Dempo's performance. They were forceful with Lenny Rodrigues, Francis Fernandes and Costa Rican midfielder Carlos Hernandez all taking terms in dictating terms. Even Alwyn George caught the eye and could have put his team ahead early in the game but despite cutting past three defenders he waited for the Sporting Goa defence to regroup and lost the opportunity.

Clifford Miranda, on the half hour mark, saw his attempt boldly saved by goalkeeper Ravi Kumar but Dempo were not to be denied almost immediately as Hernandez released Lenny who cut past Rojen Singh and Jovel Martins before sending his right footer past Ravi Kumar from the edge of the box.

Anthony Wolfe was the lone ranger for Sporting Goa upfront. He went close twice in the opening session. At first he was thwarted by Calum Angus right inside the danger zone and some minutes later, when Wolfe tried to get past Angus his touch was too strong and he lost his balance before the ball rolled into the hands of goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani.

Sporting Goa were forced to throw in the towel early in the second session as Clemente Joseph was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 47th minute. Down by a man, the numerical disadvantage was too much for Sporting Goa and then they conceded the second goal in the 50th minute. Alwyn George collected a ball from Germanpreet Singh, then warded off his marker Rojen Singh and placed the ball past the goalkeeper.

In the next ten minutes, Alwyn could have completed his hattrick but the former Pailan Arrows striker shocking shot over the crossbar, twice, when he only had the goalkeeper to beat. Francis made it 3-0 in the third minute of added time as his shot from top of the box entered the nets.

(Report courtesy I-League Media)

I-League: Bengaluru FC begin travels with East Bengal challenge!

Bengaluru FC begin a key and hectic run of games over the week when they travel to Kolkata to battle East Bengal Club at the Saltlake Stadium on Wednesday evening. Playing as many as three games in a span of eight days including a clash with Royal Wahingdoh FC in chilly Shillong and the AFC Champions League trip to Malaysia, Ashley Westwood's team are aware of the task that lies ahead of them.

While history (East Bengal enjoy a 3-0 win record over Bengaluru FC) and recent results may not give the Blues a big chance, Westwood has more than a resilient bunch who are no strangers to battling odds and coming out trumps. Though last Saturday at home against Pune FC didn't quiet go according to plan, Westwood had a second half full of positives to pick from.

A sore hamstring delaying his first League start in Bengaluru FC's opener, Joshua Walker made the first XI in the game against Pune FC and managed a full 90 minutes which bodes well for the visitors given the difference the Englishman's presence makes.

"We've played East Bengal three times and lost three times so it's a record as bad as it can get and we're happy to go into this game as underdogs. They have a good side and the crowd will be behind them. It's going to be a good, tough game and one that we will be well prepared for," said Westwood at the pre-game press conference on Tuesday.

East Bengal, like Bengaluru FC, began their league campaign with a shared point after a 1-1 draw against Sporting Clube de Goa and the Kolkata club will be keen to get their I-League campaign off the blocks after a disappointing Federation Cup outing where they failed to make it out of the group stages. With Armand Colaco at the helm, East Bengal have done a complete rejig with their foreign signing for the season, bringing in Leo Bertos, Milan Susak to join familiar faces in Dudu and Ranti Martins.

While Westwood said that the hosts had a great squad, it meant nothing on the day. "Names mean nothing. It's all about who performs on the day. Last season we had the worst squad on paper but went on to win the League. So, you can never tell."

The game kicks off at 7pm and would be live on Ten Action.

Under-19 I-League: Pune FC top Maharashtra Zone; hammer Kenkre FC 5-2 in final game!

Pune FC topped the Maharashtra Zone with a comfortable 5-2 win over Kenkre FC in an Under-19 I-League Round-8 encounter at the Cooperage Ground in Mumbai on Tuesday. The three points earned meant Pune FC took their tally to 19 points at the end of the zonal round and took the top spot over from DSK Shivajians (19 pts) thanks to a better goal difference.

Meanwhile, the result extended Pune FC's unbeaten run to six games. It also continues the unbeaten run in away games, with the team securing four back to back wins in a row making it a one hundred per cent away record.

Goals from Prakash Sarkar (9'), Arif Shaikh (23',88'), Akshay Pashilkar (41') and Farukh Choudhary (43') saw Pune FC beat the home team by a comfortable three goal margin. Kenkre FC however managed to reduce the margin of the defeat when Yash Mhatre (19',46') pulled two goals back, one in each half of the game.

Pune FC went on the offensive from the opening minute of the game. Sannik Murmu ran from the left flank past the Kenkre defenders only to be denied by the custodian. It was the first of many onslaughts on the Kenkre's goal which were to follow over the course of the 90 minutes of the game. For all the offensives that Pune FC led from the two flanks and the centre, it took them only nine minutes in the first half to open the scoring. The attack led by Sannik down the left saw him release the ball to Farukh who in turn passed it to Prakash in the centre who fired a salvo past a diving Kenkre custodian.

Even though Pune FC scored a goal, there were no signs of the home team ready to be a pushover for the victory. Post the first goal they too began a counter offensive on the Pune FC goal. Custodian Sukhadev Patil for Pune FC was left rooted to the spot after an ill timed foul earned Kenkre FC a free-kick just outside the box. Yash Mhatre stepped up and shot it into the top left corner to equalise. It was not for long though. In the 23rd minute a brilliant long ball from defender Myron Mendes from the Pune FC half saw the ball reach captain Altamash Sayed. He in turn passed it to Arif in the centre who gently tapped it in.

An incident involving eagles swooping down on the Kenkre custodian Joe Paul saw the game being held up for a few minutes in the last quarter of the game. When the game resumed the Kenkre defence looked a little shaky which Pune FC exploited to the hilt. The 41st minute of the game saw Altamash run down the centre and pass the ball to Akshay Pashilkar who chipped the ball down the left bottom.

Two minutes later, Farukh came to the party as Pune FC opened the floodgates. Altamash was at the centre of the scoring as he passed the ball to Farukh who went round the Kenkre keeper and tapped it in. Pune FC went into the half time with a comfortable 4-1 scoreline in their favour.

The second half however began in a completely different fashion. A long cross from Sekhar Bhattacharya saw the ball reach Mhatre who headed it in past Sukhadev. Thereafter the game remained confined to end to end action where Pune FC kept dominating attacks but they lacked the final finish. In fact a brilliant run by Arif which saw him finish the move with a goal ended in heartbreak as it was ruled offside.

The last goal of the game came in the dying minutes. With Kenkre committing all players forward, there was little room for an error. However, a defensive frailty in the 88th minute saw the ball reach Arif, from a Pune FC corner on the right. He calmly collected the ball and drilled it past the Kenkre custodian to seal the game.

I-League: Salgaocar FC looking for first win, take on Mohun Bagan!

Salgaocar FC will look to shake off their early season blues when they take on Mohun Bagan AC in a Round 3 clash of the I-League 2014/15. With one point from the opening two home fixtures against Pune FC and Royal Wahingdoh FC, the Greens will look to get their campaign back on track with three crucial points. Mohun Bagan on the other hand beat Mumbai FC in their only outing thus far.

The two sides last met in the Federation Cup only a couple of weeks ago, with Salgaocar FC having outplayed their opponents 4-1 on that occasion after having conceded first. The Greens will be banking on their outstanding performers on that day, goalkeeper Subrata Pal and Ivorian midfielder Douhou Pierre to out in another master class if they are to emerge victorious tomorrow.

Injuries to key players including striker Darryl Duffy continue to be coach Derrick Pereira's biggest nightmare. "We will be starting with the same 11 that started in the last match against Royal Wahingdoh as our players nursing injuries are yet to recover," the gaffer remarked at the pre-match conference held earlier today. On being asked whether he'd be tempted to make some drastic changes should his side not emerge victorious in the clash tomorrow, the gaffer replied, "We will not press the panic button just yet though, these are early stages of the league. It is important on focussing on getting the basics right and things do fall into place eventually. Football is cyclical, you have the highs and the lows," he went on to add.

"Salgaocar are a good side and they beat us comprehensively in the Federation Cup. However, we faced a similar problem in the Federation Cup to the one being faced by Salgaocar currently and that is finding the back of the net. We played very attractive football through the Federation Cup but couldn't score goals and unfortunately you cannot merely survive playing good football," remarked his counterpart Sanjoy Sen.

The match will be telecast Live on Ten Action and is scheduled to kick off at 4.30pm.

Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein welcomes Michael van Praag's candidacy for FIFA presidency!

Following the announcement of Dutch Football Association (KNVB) president Michael van Praag's candidacy for the position of President of FIFA, HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein commented today welcomed the development in the interest of the world football governing body.

"We welcome other credible colleagues from the football family who want to join a genuine debate about the future of FIFA. This election campaign is not about personalities it is about what is in the best interests of football and the world governing body of the game going forward. It is good for democracy that Michael van Praag has made this announcement," Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein said in an official statement.

With the announcement from Michael van Praag, he is the fifth person to throw his hat into the ring after current FIFA president Sepp Blatter, former FIFA assistant general secretary Jerome Champagne, former footballer David Ginola and FIFA vice-president and AFC vice-president HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein.