Football ISL: Sylla, Angulo score as NEU and Goa share points

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Fatorda,Goa: NorthEast United extended their unbeaten run to three games after frustrating  Goa in a 1-1 draw in their Hero Indian Super League 7 encounter at the Fatorda Stadium on Monday. Goa are yet to record three points this season.

Idrissa Sylla (40’ p) scored the opening goal before Igor Angulo (43’) equalised just before the break.

Brandon Fernandes was handed his first start of the season along with Aibanbha Kupar Dohling as Goa boss Juan Ferrando made three changes to the side which had suffered a defeat to Mumbai City FC. Jorge Ortiz Mendoza started with James Donachie benched.

NorthEast made as many as five changes to the side which came from behind to hold Kerala in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Sylla was preferred ahead of Kwesi Appiah. Provat Lakra, Luis Machado, Lalrempuia Fanai and Britto PM were the other fresh faces.

Goa were keen to impose themselves on the Highlanders and came close in the fifth minute. Fernandes played a long diagonal pass from inside his own half to find Mendoza on the flank, but the latter shot straight at keeper Subhasish Chowdhury.

The Gaurs were clearly the better side in the first quarter enjoying almost 70 percent possession. They were all over NorthEast territory trying to create spaces, but their sloppy passing let them down.

The Highlanders, who relied mostly on counters, had their opportunities too. At the half-hour mark, the visitors nearly scored. But Sylla couldn’t keep his composure in front of the goal as he headed Britto’s deflected cross over the bar.

Sylla’s presence troubled Goa’s defence. And the Guinean earned a penalty in the 39th minute for the Highlanders when he was tripped by Ivan Gonzalez. Sylla, who had to retake his penalty, kept his cool to put his side ahead in the game, scoring his third goal of the season.

The joy was short-lived as Goa restored parity in the 43rd minute and it was Fernandes once again with a fine assist. Edu Bedia found Fernandes on the left flank, who took on Lakra and hooked a low cross into the box, where Angulo flicked it into the goal.

 Goa continued from where they left off and came close to scoring early in the second half. Angulo and Mendoza missed chances.

With just six minutes left on the clock, Goa nearly found a winner as Alberto Noguera was denied by the post. His low shot beat the keeper but kissed the frame and went out for a goal kick.  


Aim is to play for the country: Hockey midfielder Shamsher Singh

Harpal Singh Bedi

Shamsher Singh

 New Delhi:  Talented  midfielder  Shamsher Singh  says that  his aim is to play for the country and he is totally focused to get selected in the national hockey  squad.

The 23-year old from Attari who climbed the ranks in domestic hockey after honing his skills at the Surjit Singh Academy in Jalandhar, Punjab where several of his teammates come from. 

He made his senior India debut at the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo last year,”I have come from difficult background with my father making his living from farming. There were several odds that I faced in my initial days in hockey and the struggle for basics like stick, kit and shoes were real.” he told Hockey India in Bengaluru.

‘ believe this past experience helped me brace for any uncertain circumstances and this year we have all been put off gear with the pandemic but what’s important is to continue to stay focused on our goals no matter the odds,” 

Shamsher’s debut for the Indian team was quite memorable as they won the tournament by beating New Zealand 5-0 in the Final, a match in which he scored his first Senior Team goal for the country. He struck the 2nd goal for India in the 18th minute. 

The talented youngster played all four of India’s games – 6-0 win over Malaysia, 2-1 loss to New Zealand, 6-3 win against hosts Japan and 5-0 win against New Zealand in the Final. 

“I wanted to build on my game further and was hopeful of finding opportunities in key events that were to be held this year. But with the scenario changing due to the pandemic, I have realigned my focus to make the most of the situation by improving my basics and gain experience by closely working with seniors in the team. The learnings during this time has been of immense value,” he added. 

His  disappointment in 2016 when he missed out on making the team for the Junior World Cup was a turning point in his career, “I was part of the reserves but missed out on making the cut for the India squad that went on to win the coveted Junior World Cup. It was magical to watch the team lift the title in front of crazy hockey fans in Lucknow and watching the entire tournament from the sidelines only made me more determined to work hard and earn the India jersey.’ 

Now in the Senior Core probable group, my aim is to become a dependable player for the team and execute what’s expected of me from the Coach.” he added


Football ISL: East Bengal takes on Mumbai looking for win

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Mumbai City FC players warming up before the match 2 of the 7th season of the Hero Indian Super League between NorthEast United FC and Mumbai City FC held at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Goa, India on the 21st November 2020 Photo by Faheem Hussain / Sportzpics for ISL

Goa:  Having lost their opener , East Bengal will go all out to bounce back as the Kolkata club  takes on  Mumbai City in   the Hero Indian Super League , at the GMC Stadium here on Tuesday.

The contest promises to be an intriguing one with both teams adopting a possession-based style. Sergio Lobera’s side has averaged 511 passes per match so far while EB completed 476 passes in their opening game, which they lost to  Mohun Bagan.

Though EB went down  to arch rivals Mohun Bagan , they showed glimpses of promise. Coach Robbie Fowler will once again bank upon the duo of Anthony Pilkington and Matti Steinmann to cause havoc in Mumbai’s defense.

“The way we played, we proved we can get better and better,” Fowler had said after their opener. “We are new. We have been together only for a short space of time. We move on.”

Although Mumbai dominated possession in both their matches, they struggled to score. The Islanders have registered just one goal so far, joint-least among teams who have played two matches.

The pair of Adam Le Fondre and Hugo Boumous will once again be key for Mumbai’s attack. It remains to be seen though if Bartholomew Ogbeche gets his place in the starting eleven.

Lobera believes East Bengal’s inexperience in the league won’t matter much as their strength in depth will make them difficult to beat. “Our focus is to improve at every level and learn from our mistakes,” . 

“Nothing’s changed from what I want as a coach. I want to dominate the game and possession of the ball and create chances, but that’s not easy. They are an organised team without the ball. It won’t be easy to find the spaces. We need to find the spaces to be smart and take advantage of situations in transition – both attack and defense.”

The contest will also be a momentous occasion for defender Mandar Rao Dessai, who could become the first player in the Hero ISL to complete 100 appearances. “It’s important for a player to play as many matches as possible,” the Goan said. “I’m really proud about this. And I dedicate this to all my teammates and the coaches I’ve played under in this league.”


Albino the hero as Kerala rescue point against Chennaiyin

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Goa:  Kerala Blasters held Chennaiyin to a goalless draw courtesy a superb penalty save from Albino Gomes in their Hero Indian Super League encounter at the GMC Stadium, here on Sunday.

Chennaiyin named an unchanged side from their opening win against Jamshedpur FC. Meanwhile, Kerala made three changes with Denechandra Meitei being handed his Hero ISL debut.

The first half remained goalless with either side failing to fashion clear-cut opportunities.

Chennaiyin were the dominant side but weren’t clinical in the final third. Kerala goalkeeper Albino Gomes was called into action early on, in the third minute, saving a free-kick from Rafael Crivellaro.

However, a blunder from Gomes almost handed Csaba Laszlo’s side the lead. The Kerala keeper fumbled while trying to clear the ball inside the 18-yard box. Bakary Kone made a vital clearance to save Kerala the blushes.

At the other end, Vishal Kaith also produced a fantastic save to keep his side in the game. Rohit Kumar found space outside the box and fired a long ranger only to be denied by the Chennaiyin custodian. This was their only shot on goal during the first half.

Chennaiyin suffered a huge blow just before the drinks break as Lalchhuanmawia Fanai went down after a tackle. He was replaced by Jerry Lalrinzuala.

The script wasn’t different in the second half as Chennaiyin remained the better side. However, Gomes pulled off a couple of fine saves to keep Laszlo’s team at bay.

The first came when substitute Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev delivered a pinpoint free-kick into the box during the 67th minute. Gomes stayed alert to avert the danger.

The Kerala custodian then had his biggest influence on the match by producing a fine penalty save, eight minutes later. The referee pointed to the spot when Rafael Crivellaro was brought down in the box by Sergio Cidoncha. Jakub Sylvestr stepped up to take the spot-kick but was denied by Gomes, who pulled off a fantastic save.

Chennaiyin pushed hard for a winner but Kerala saw the game out to secure a hard-fought point