Monday, April 9, 2018

AFC Cup Group E: Roca aims to keep winning streak intact

Bengaluru FC Media 

The Sree Kanteerava Stadium will play host to its first game since the Indian Super League final when Albert Roca’s Bengaluru FC side welcome New Radiant SC in a 2018 AFC Cup group stage clash, on Tuesday. Having won their six previous AFC Cup games on the trot, Roca stressed the need for his Blues to maintain consistency in a competition in which they have reached the semifinal stage for two consecutive seasons.

“New Radiant are a very good side and have some quality players in their ranks. We saw them play against Aizawl and in Dhaka and we’re sure that we will have to be at our best to take anything away from them,” said the Spaniard, speaking at the pre-match press conference.

Bengaluru claimed a 1-0 win at the Fortress in their opening match of the 2018 AFC Cup group stages with a win against Abahani Dhaka before a 3-1 away defeat of Aizawl in Guwahati earlier this month. Striker Daniel Lalhlimpuia scored in both games, and could be set to make a start on Tuesday.

“We have some players who are in form and others who have been waiting for their chance. I will have to rest a few key players because we have a Super Cup quarterfinal coming up but I am sure that those who take the field will give their best,” added the Spaniard.

The Blues sit atop the standings in Group E, with two wins from two games, having scored four goals and conceded just one. Bengaluru boast a perfect record against Maldivian sides, with six wins from as many games over three seasons of the continental competition. The only major doubt for the Blues is central defender Juanan Gonzalez, who is nursing an injury sustained in the closing stages of the Indian Super League.

New Radiant, AFC Cup semifinalists in 2005 and the only Maldivian club to have progressed beyond group stages in the AFC cup on multiple occasions, come into the game with numbers identical to those of Roca’s men, having won their opening game against Aizawl 3-1 in Henveiru, before a 1-0 win against Abahani Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Talismanic striker Ali Ashfaq is the man in form and Roca admits the Bengaluru back line will need to be sharper than usual. “We were all upset with the way we conceded against Aizawl but we showed enough character to come back. We cannot afford to make those mistakes against New Radiant who have quality in attack. The game is a chance for us to go ahead on points alone and it’s one we must work hard to make count.”

Kick-off at the Fortress is at 8 pm and will be telecast live on the AFC Cup Facebook page.

State women footballer dies in road accident

Tejaswini, a promising footballer died owing to an accident near the PES College flyover yesterday. She was only 22 years old. She represented Karnataka in Senior Women’s National at Assam in 2015. 

Tejaswini was a product of SAI Training Centre Scheme, she also represented Bangalore in inter-district competition. Her body will be taken to Hassan for last rites. 

 KSFA and BDFA condoled the death of the talented footballer. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

AFC Cup Group E: Bengaluru come from a goal down to beat Aizawl

Bengaluru FC Media

Goals from Daniel Segovia (45+1’), Rahul Bheke (63’) and Daniel Lalhlimpuia (77’) ensured Bengaluru FC maintained their perfect start to their Group E campaign of the AFC Cup with a 3-1 win over Aizawl FC at the Indira Gandhi Stadium, in Guwahati, on Thursday.

Trailing after an early setback, Albert Roca’s boys kept their calm and went about staging an assured comeback that now sees them with six points from two games. The Spaniard underlined the faith he had in the squad that has been getting more than just the job done for the Blues in this season’s continental campaign so far, by naming Sunil Chhetri, Gurpreet Singh and Udanta Singh among others, on the bench.

The Blues got off to a poor start under the rain conceding inside five minutes. Skipper Lalthuammawia Ralte, who rushed ahead to clear a through pass from Andrei Ionescu aimed at attacker Albert Zohmingmawia, found his effort come off striker Leonce Dodoz (5’) and roll into an empty net to give the hosts an early lead.

While Aizawl opted to protect their lead by sitting back, the next forty minutes saw Bengaluru press and dominate proceedings spare the odd attack on the counter from the hosts. The Blues finally made the huge chunk of possession count at the stroke of half time. Erik Paartalu’s header from a Bengaluru corner caught the hand of Dodoz in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Segovia stepped up to calmly slot home his first goal since joining the club in the middle of the season, to make it 1-1.

Bengaluru and Segovia had a big chance to score a second minutes into the start of the second half, but the striker fluffed his lines from the spot after Subhasish Bose was brought down in the box. Segovia sent Avilash Paul the wrong way only to see his take come off the post and roll out.

But the Blues refused to let the miss dampen their chase for the lead and their wait wasn’t too long before they got the goal to send them ahead. A corner played short saw Alwyn George lose a man before sending in a cross that Bheke did well to nod home in the 63rd minute.

Second half substitute Lalhlimpuia who scored the winner in the Blues’ Group E opener against Abahani Dhaka Limited, got his second of the campaign in the 77th minute. Setting off on a run down the left with the ball, Bose squared the ball perfectly for Lalhlimpuia who took a touch before slotting past Paul who could maybe have done better to keep it out.

Lalhlimpuia could have got his second of the night after some fantastic work by George saw him tee up the striker. But this time, Paul got enough of a hand on the ball to keep it out.

Bengaluru now host Maldivian side New Radiant SC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on April 10.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Karnataka lose to Bengal in Hero Santosh Trophy semifinal

AIFF Media 

Defending champions Bengal moved past Karnataka 2-0  at the Sailen Manna Stadium in Howrah to set-up a title clash against Kerala in the Hero Santosh Trophy 2018.

Skipper Jiten Murmu and Tirthankar Sarkar scored in the 57th and 90+2nd minute respectively for the hosts.

Bengal started as the better side but not before long, Karnataka took control of the game. Bengal Head Coach Ranjan Chowdhury deployed Jiten Murmu and Bidyashagar Singh upfront but the duo didn’t have much of an impact in the first 45 minutes.

In the 17th minute, Sukesh Leon of Karnataka hit the woodwork with a header that took Bengal’s goalkeeper, Ranajit Majumder by surprise. The young shot-stopper then followed with two great saves to keep Bengal into the game.

Meanwhile, Bengal had a close chance of their own in the 36th minute through Sumit Das, who covered a lot of ground after getting the ball from midfield but the winger could not keep his effort on target from inside the box. Five minutes later, Bengal had another opportunity but Jiten’s header went wide.

Towards the end, Karnataka made two significant attempts through S. Rajesh and Sukesh, but both efforts produced nothing as the first half ended goalless.

Changing over, both teams seemed keen to make an early impression, but it was Bengal who secured the all-important opening goal in the 57th minute though Jiten. Sumit’s fierce effort was palmed away by Karnataka keeper Shaikhan CP but Jiten was at the right place at right time to slot home from the rebound.

Despite the goal, or perhaps because of it, the match continued to be played on a high tempo. Free-kicks from wide areas for Bengal continued to be an outlet towards the goal as the hosts dominated two thirds of possession in the second half.

Having missed a few half chances, Bengal went extremely close in the 74th minute when Tirthankar played a through ball to Bidyashagar but the teenage striker could not reach to the ball.

Meanwhile, Karnataka also pushed hard for a late equaliser, Shamanth Dodda joined Rajesh in the forward line but Karnataka could find no way through an imperious defence and it was Bengal who looked more likely to score.

Thereafter, Bengal continued to dominate proceedings but had to wait till additional time to get their second. Jiten with a brilliant run on the right got past his marker but was brought down on the edge of the box when he was about to pull the trigger, which earned Bengal a free-kick and Tirthankar made no mistake to put the ball into the back of the net to confirm Bengal's place in the final.

The 32-time winners, defending champions and hosts Bengal will now face 5-time champions Kerala in the ultimate battle on Sunday.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Dimas Delgado signs on for one more year with Bengaluru

Bengaluru FC Media

Bengaluru FC have handed a one-year contract extension to playmaker Dimas Delgado which will see him with the Blues till the end of 2018-19 season, the club announced on Thursday. The Santa Coloma de Gramanet-born midfielder becomes the sixth player to sign an extension following Rahul Bheke, Juanan Gonzalez, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Erik Paartalu and Boithang Haokip.

Having completed formalities on his extension, Dimas Delgado said, “I’m very happy to have signed for another season with Bengaluru FC. My experience at this club has been amazing so far, and our journey in the Indian Super League and AFC Cup was a memorable one. My family and I have enjoyed our time here so far and we want it to carry on. I want to stay on, fight hard and win the ISL and every other trophy we are competing for. I would like to thank everyone involved in making this decision easier for me.”

Having joined from Western Sydney Wanderers ahead of the Blues' 2017 AFC Cup knock-out rounds, 35-year-old Dimas went on to become a fan favourite, after making his debut in the 3-0 home win over North Korean side 4.25 SC back in August 2017.

The Spaniard has been one of the stand-out performers for the Blues, making a total of 1,120 passes in 17 games in the Indian Super League, the most among his teammates. With an outstanding passing accuracy of 77%, Dimas bagged three assists, and even netted a goal in the Blues' clash against FC Goa at the Kanteerava in February.