Tuesday, 6 October 2015

AFC Under-19 Championships qualifiers: India lose 0-2 to Afghanistan!

The Indian Under-19 National Team went 0-2 against Afghanistan in their third and final match of the AFC Under-19 Championships qualifier at the Faisal Al-Husseini Stadium in Al-Ram, Palestine earlier today.

On a cool breezy evening in Al-Ram, the Indian Colts were left reeling for their missed opportunities as Afghanistan led by a solitary goal at half-time and scored against the run-of-play in the second half to take home the three points. However, the match would have been a different complexion altogether had the Indian colts had their goal-scoring boots on, but in the end football is a game of scoring goals and India miserably failed on that front in the tournament with no goal to their name.

In the 2nd minute, Lallianzuala's rocket-of-a-shot, which earned an acrobatic save from Moquem Matem rung the attacking bells for India. Six minutes later, Nishu Kumar's attempt was ricocheted off the Afghan defence for a corner kick. With India enjoying possession and controlling the tempo of the match, chances to score the opening goal of the match came in plenty. First, an Ashique cross from the left flank was headed wide by Lallianzuala, with the goal at his mercy in the 22nd minute.

Next, Bidyananda's spectacular effort from 25 yards earned an uncanny save from Matem, which fell into Lallianzuala's stride, who once again failed to blast the ball home from hand-shaking distance. As the Indian colts failed to make the most of their opportunities, Afghanistan capitalized from their single shot on goal in the first half, as they scored from a corner kick in the 44th minute.

Changing over, and the Indian colts fostered another goal scoring opportunity. This time Daniel's shot, after a tacky one-touch play around the Afghan 18-yard box was saved by Maten in the 46th minute. Two minutes later- déjà vu - as Daniel was once again denied the opportunity to open the goal scoring charts for India by Maten.

Even with Afghanistan committing bodies around their 18 yard box, India fostered goal scoring opportunities, however, to no avail. In the 60th minute, Afghanistan's custodian made a howler as he failed to collect Lallianzuala's whipped-in cross. However, the cross fell to Ashique, who instead of tapping it home slotted it wide. Two minutes later, the Indian colts were handed another golden opportunity to equalize their deficit as Nishu Kumar's shot went inches wide of the post, following a corner kick.

Head Coach Lee Johnson shuffled his pack and introduced Milan Basumatary in place of Bidyananda Singh in the 76th minute. And soon after the substitute came close to equalizing India's deficit as his shot earned a top-notch save from Maten. Thereafter, Afghanistan doubled their lead in the 79th minute and adopted a defensive stance to see out the match.

The Indian Colts leave for Indian shores tomorrow and will resume their participation in the FAM-FRENZ Asia Champions Trophy 2015 on October 14, 2015 when they clash swords against Thailand's Chonburi FC, next.

India Under-19s: Sukhadev Patil - Shahabaaz, Mohammed Sajid Dhot, Lalthakima, Nishu Kumar - Bidyananda Singh (76' Milan Basumatary), Malsawmzuala, Muhammed Ashique (87' Suman Sarkar), Lallianzuala, Mawihmingthanga, Daniel Lalhlimpuia [C]

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

ISL - Season 2: FC Goa & Atlético de Kolkata want to maintain their winning momentum!

FC Goa take on defending champions Atletico de Kolkata in match 5 of the Indian Super League - Season 2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao on Wednesday evening.

The two sides faced each other four times last season with the Bengal Tigers winning the first match in Goa and then winning the Goan-tie of the semifinals via knockout while the other two results were draws.

This season, a day after the Kolkata franchise travelled to the south for the ISL opener and beat Chennaiyin FC 3-2, FC Goa got off to a flyer with a 2-0 win over Delhi Dynamos FC.

"Versus Kolkata we just lost one game out of four last time. We drew one game because of the mistake of the referee when we were leading 1-0," said Zico, head coach of FC Goa.

"For tomorrow (Wednesday), it is a regular game. No rivalries of any sort. We have changed a lot of our players and they have as well. We will have to be prepared," he added.

The Gaurs, who overall fared well in their last match, will be missing out on Bikramjit Singh and Victor Simoes on account of injuries while Pronay Halder and Narayan Das are away with the Indian national team.

Atletico de Kolkata's major exclusion will be that of marquee player Helder Postiga who is back in Portugal to treat his injury, other than Arnab Mondal and Rino Anto on national team duty.

"Helder Postiga has a serious injury. We may not have the player for more than one month. It's bad news for us but I have a lot of confidence in the rest of my players," observed ATK coach Habas who also gave his thoughts on facing FC Goa.

"The difference between Goa and Atletico de Kolkata is minimum. The difference is in small data like set pieces, fouls," he said.

Keeping into consideration both teams played just one match each, there is a glaring sight on FC Goa's clean sheet as compared to the two goals conceded by Atletico de Kolkata and neither outfits are shy to play an attacking brand of football.

Mood is positive in India camp ahead of Turkmenistan qualifier!

The Indian National Team had their first practice session in Ashgabat on Tuesday, October 6 evening. The second practice session, the Official one a day prior to the qualification match, is slated for tomorrow, October 7 at the match venue.

Though the session was held under the lights, the turf was uneven with rough patches of grass all over, with even potholes. And the ball hardly bounced.

In the morning, post breakfast, the boys had a recovery session where they had a fun session of Foot Tennis followed by a session at the swimming pool.

Speaking exclusively to AIFF Media, Constantine mentioned about the "positive atmosphere in the Camp".

"The atmosphere is so positive in the Camp. That's the speciality of National Camps the World over," he stated. "We have two crucial back to back matches and all in the Camp needs to understand its significance. We need to settle down fast."

The weather in Ashgabat cannot just be more pleasant. It's bright sunny all day over and the temperature at this time of the year never seems to pass 28 degrees.

Defender Arnab Mondal highlighted the "urgency" within the Camp.

"It's about doing it on the field. We are getting ready for the challenges ahead. We would be taking step at a time and are at the moment focussing on the match against Turkmeistan," he said.

"We understand Turkmenistan have some good results at Home. We need to execute the Coach's instructions to perfection. That's our job."

(Report & Photo courtesy AIFF Media)

2015 Junior National Girls Football Championship - Day 2 in Goa!

The second day of the 2015 Junior National Girls Football Championship kicked-off in Goa saw numerous one-sided matches with Goa's 31-0 trashing against Jammu&Kashmir being the highlight.

Brimming with confidence and bolstered by the presence of seven international players who have represented India at the age group level, the Goan Under-18 girls started off their campaign with a ruthless 31-0 victory over a hapless Jammu and Kashmir. Goa captain Velanie Fernandes’'finishing was the main highlight of the match are she scored nine goals in total, some of which were really good solo effort goals.

Velanie got outstanding support from the strong midfield play of Cianna Lobo and Lifa Gama, both of whom scored four goals each. Anline Sharmila Fernandes scored four goals, Marlat Cardozo also contributed with four goals of her own. Sushmita Jadav scored a hattrick for Goa and Avia Jeans Vas, Scindia Saudatikar and Cynthia Lobo chipped in with a goal each for the final big margin of 31 goals to nil.

The Goa girls next face Telangana on October 10 at 7.30am at Navelim's Rosary Sports Complex.

Meanwhile Jharkhand scored a resounding 5-1 win over Kerala in their first match in Goa. Jharkhand drew first blood and struck in the 20th minute through Puja Kumari. Kerala got right back in the game and equalized in the very next minute with a goal from Anagha P., who lobbed in beautifully catching goalkeeper Mamta completely off-guard. The match seemed to be heading into a stalemate when Jharkhand regrouped and gradually established control over the game after the equalizer. They scored three quick goals, the first in the 36 minute with Puja Toppo giving them a 2-1 lead and then Puja Kumari put Jharkhand 3-1 ahead with a fine goal in the 39th minute and Mamta Kumari put Jharkhand in a very comfortable 4-1 lead with a goal in the 40th minute. The half-time score read 4-1 in favour of Jharkhand. In the second half, Jharkhand were on the attack non-stop, with the Kerala girls wilting under the incessant raids from the Jharkhand forwards, looked like a depleted team and did not give a fight back. Jharkhand scored their fifth goal to kill any chance of a Kerala come back in the 57 minute by an Anamika Kumari goal.

In the remaining matches, Madhya Pradesh won 2-0 against Himachal Pradesh, West Bengal trashed Gujarat 9-0 and Mizoram defeated Uttar Pradesh 7-0.

UltraTech Cement associates with Mumbai City FC as its Strength Partner!

UltraTech Cement announces its association with Indian Super League franchise Mumbai City FC as its Strength Partner. It aims to extend its support towards building the beautiful game in India with this tie-up.

Football is fast gaining popularity in the country, and the success of the first edition of the Indian Super League is a testimony to it. Indian Super League achieved the rare milestone of having registered the highest average stadium attendance for any football league in Asia, and the fourth highest in the world in its first edition.

Indian National team captain Sunil Chhetri and goalkeeper Subrata Pal are among the core players of Mumbai City FC. Nicolas Anelka, the marquee player-manager for Mumbai City FC, is a globally renowned footballer having plied his trade with top clubs in Europe including Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal, among others. Bollywood actor and football enthusiast Ranbir Kapoor is the co-owner of the team.

The team's logo is a reflection of a resilient fortress that depicts the strong and determined spirit of the city. It also depicts a train that is the lifeline of the city. The seven stars symbolize the seven islands that form Mumbai.

"UltraTech has always been strongly connected with sports in India; be it cricket and now football. UltraTech, as a brand, signifies strength and beauty, which is what football as a sport stands for. Mumbai City FC has a strong mix of top national and international players and has a promising season ahead. Our association with Mumbai City FC is a step towards connecting with the youth of India through football, while also leveraging the rising popularity of the game as a brand," said Mr. O.P. Puranmalka, Managing Director, UltraTech Cement Ltd.

Commenting on this association with UltraTech Cement, Mumbai City FC co-owner Ranbir Kapoor, said, "UltraTech Cement have been associated with sports teams in India for awhile now and it gives us a major confidence boost that they have ventured into football in India with Mumbai City FC. I am very glad to welcome them on board as our strength partner for this season."