Friday, February 24, 2017

Bengaluru look to hurl on disorganized East Bengal

AIFF Media 
JSW Media

In a fight between the arch-rivals from Bangalore and Kolkata in Hero I-League, reigning champions Bengaluru FC take on the table-topper Kingfisher East Bengal tomorrow at the Shree Kanterava Stadium.

Though Bengaluru have defeated the Red & Golds at home convincingly in past two seasons, they have tasted a 1-2 defeat in their away game this season.

In what may be termed as a mid-season slump, which seems to be far from over, the Blues are winless in last 6 rounds, and yet to win an away match.

East Bengal’s recent drop in form after six consecutive wins witnessed them picking only 2 points from last three matches. Their woe compounded when they lost the previous match to Aizawl FC. East Bengal still manage to stay at the top with a better goal difference than Mohun Bagan, the later, having played a match less.

Talking to the media, Bengaluru FC coach Roca termed it as a tough game, “We have a lot of positives from the last three games, the way we have played, creating more chances, we were on our way to winning, unfortunately, we were not so lucky!”

More than a month ago, Bengaluru’s fall started against the same team, which coach terms as ‘Pain’.

“We expect East Bengal coming hard on us. From three bad results, I am sure even for them this is an important game.” said the Spaniard.

Goals have eluded Bengaluru and Roca is wary of this, “It (goal) is the most important thing in football, we are creating chances but not efficient enough to score a goal, we are working on it.”

The visitors will be without their injured striker Willis Plaza and Didika Ralte, who is out owing to the automatic yellow card suspension. Bengaluru will go out without John Johnson.

East Bengal Coach, Trevor James Morgan realizes a ‘tough game’ is awaiting his troop. “Bengaluru is a good side with good players. I think we have to we have to perform well and get a result.

He added, “We are quite disappointed with the last two games we played against Shillong Lajong and Aizawl FC. We need to start winning and tomorrow’s game will be a tough one!”

As Harmanjot Singh Khabra set to cut loose against his former teammates tomorrow, so is Robin Singh who’s gearing up to take on Sunils and Eugenes, his ex-co-players.

The match is scheduled at 07:00 pm and it’ll be telecast live on Ten 2.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bengaluru dominate Mumbai, lose points again

Bengaluru FC Media 

Bengaluru FC were left frustrated, this time against Mumbai FC at the Cooperage Stadium, in Mumbai, as they were held to a goalless draw once again. On a night when the Blues should have come away with three points, skipper Sunil Chhetri’s shot was cleared off the line while CK Vineeth and Daniel Lalhlimpuia saw shots come close to breaking the deadlock, but it just wasn’t to be.

Back from a two-game suspension, Juan Gonzalez replaced Sena Ralte in defence while Alwyn George earned a start ahead of Eugeneson Lyngdoh as Roca stuck to two changes from the side that drew at Aizawl on Wednesday.

While Mumbai relied on lumping the ball ahead only for Salam Ranjan Singh and Sandesh Jhingan to win every aerial duel, Bengaluru had more than a few spells of slick possession.

 The Blues best chance came from a counter where Alwyn, after exchanging passes with Udanta Singh, shot straight at Lakshmikant Kattimani when he should have picked a corner. Roca’s men had a chance to make amends within seconds when Udanta sent in a cross only for Daniel to head inches over the Mumbai crossbar.

Roca was forced into a substitution five minutes from the half when Amrinder Singh’s thigh, for which he received treatment early in the game, kept troubling the Blues’ shot stopper as Arindam Bhattacharya came on to mark his debut for the club since signing this summer.

Wanting to up the ante in attack after a first half that yielded no goal, Roca threw on CK Vineeth for Alwyn on the hour mark. With fresh feet and a bag of tricks, Vineeth came close soon after coming on. He waltzed past three yellow shirts, sneaked into the Mumbai box but shot wide. Only minutes later, playing off Chhetri’s smart dummy from a Watson pass, Vineeth shot straight at Kattimani where he should have looked to place the ball in.

But an under-pressure Daniel Lalhlimpuia missed the chance of the half in the 71st minute. Charging out to deal with a long ball played from the centre, Kattimani was left stranded on the edge of the box and with the ball at Lalhlimpuia’s feet. The young striker, looking to make the most of an open net but with yellow shirts on his back, ended up shooting wide.

Bengaluru looked to have got the lead they had been chasing all evening when Chhetri, deftly turning to lose his man in the box, shot on target and past Kattimani only for defender Djelaludin Sharityar to turn up with a save on the goal line. Lyngdoh, who came on for Lalhlimpuia, shot wide in the 87th minute after he was picked out by a perfect cross from Udanta.

The draw leaves the Blues at fourth on the League table, with 13 points from nine games. Roca’s men next face East Bengal at the Kanteerava Stadium on 25th February.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bengaluru pressing for turnaround as Mumbai FC stand in way

Bengaluru FC Media

Albert Roca said he hoped for a drastic change in luck to compliment the kind of football Bengaluru FC have been playing as the Blues take on Mumbai FC at the Cooperage, in Mumbai, on Saturday. Winless in five games now, Bengaluru FC have often found themselves on the short end of fortune to share points in games they should have comfortably won.

“It’s frustrating for sure to control large parts of the game and then come away with a point. But that’s football and like I have been saying, it’s important to keep any negativity away. We back the kind of quality we have and we will need to show it against Mumbai,” he said.

Bengaluru come into this game on the back of three straight draws and the Sunil Chhetri-led side will have to be more clinical with the chances they have been creating in attack if the trend has to be bucked.

The game also marks the first of the reverse legs for the Blues this season. CK Vineeth scored the first hat-trick in the club’s history when Mumbai came to the Kanteerava in January and Bengaluru will hope the striker, who hasn’t scored since then, finds form in front of goal.

Mumbai, meanwhile, are struggling with a winless streak of their own, having gone on to lose five straight games after the 3-0 defeat in Bengaluru. The Santosh Kashyap-coached side picked their first points since then after playing out a goalless draw against Mohun Bagan on Wednesday and find themselves above only Churchill Brothers on the points table.

But much has changed for Mumbai in terms of their squad since they last played Bengaluru. Four foreign singings in Densill Theobald, Djelaludin Sharityar, Alex Willian and Anderson da Silva have joined Kashyap and showed in glimpses against Bagan what they bring to the side.

“Like us, Mumbai too have been chasing a win for some time now and that is what makes them dangerous. They have even added four foreigners who look experienced and that changes a lot from the last time we played them,” said Roca.

In what is surely some respite for Roca, who has missed key players owing to injury and suspensions, central defender Juan Gonzalez has made the trip to Mumbai having served his two-game ban and will add some much needed strength to a Blues defence that has had a few weak moments in the recent past. John Johnson, however, continues his rehabilitation after fracturing a rib and will miss out on Saturday.

The game kicks off at 7 pm and will be telecast on Ten 2. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ozone crash out of I-League second division

Playing a woeful game of catch up, Ozone faltered again at home in the hand of Fateh Hyderabad AFC. The visitors scored two quick goals in the first half, owing to some poor defending from Ozone backs. 

In a match where both teams needed to win to retain chance to qualify to the next stage, Fateh took the lead in the third minute from a goal from Nima Tamang. They struck again in the 23rd minute from a cross from Bangalore boy Manoj Swamy Kannan which Bonison Singh made no mistake. 

Anto Xavier reduced the margin for Ozone in the 40th minute. 

With the inclusion of Satish Kumar and Vignesh G in the fisrt half, Ozone tried come back to the game. However, they failed to crack Fateh defense. 

With 7 points and an away game in hand, Ozone are out of I-League Second Division. They currently stands at 3rd position in Group C after Fateh Hyderabad AFC and Kenkre FC. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Unlucky Bengaluru settle for draw after wasting a penalty and getting a goal disallowed

AIFF Media 
Bengaluru FC Media 

In a much anticipated Hero I-League match between Aizawl FC and Bengaluru FC, the final whistle blew with a 1-1 tie with both goals scored in the first half within a span of 5 minutes by Brandon and Chhetri. Brandon Vanlalremdika (40′) opened the goalmouth whereas Sunil Chhetri (45′) cancelled the home team’s lead at the stroke of the first half.

Meanwhile, this goal added another feather in the talismanic striker’s hat as he leapfrogged Bhaichung Bhutia to score the most number of goals combining NFL & I-League. Bhaichung Bhutia had enjoyed the cushion until today with 89 goals.

Bengaluru FC did no less scoring an equaliser just 5 minutes later when captain Sunil Chhetri received the ball and shot it straight into the top corner of the box from about 30 yards away. The half time ended with the 1-1 tie.

Aizawl FC looked the better team in the first half with 3 shots on target while the away team had a single shot on target. Away keeper Amrinder Singh also saved his team in the 32nd minute when he successfully blocked a powerful shot by Alfred Jaryan moments after Al-Amna’s header hit the bar.

Hero I-League has always drawn a large crowd of ardent football fans in Aizawl, and today’s match too saw a great number of spectators. The second half kicked off again to a vibrant start.

Bengaluru FC missed their chance to lead in the 55th minute when Sunil Chhetri stepped up to take the penalty which was punched away by Aizawl FC keeper Albino Gomes. Gomes now claims two penalty saves this season, earlier came when he denied Fabio Pena in their home match against Shillong Lajong.

Just minutes before the match ended, Zohmingliana Ralte headed a free kick by Lalramchullova but that failed to see the back of the net and flew over the bar instead.

Aizawl FC maintain their enviable unbeaten record at their home in the ongoing season. Though Bengaluru FC halted their four matches winning streak at their home, the highlanders would be happy with the solitary point earned from today’s tie.

Aizawl FC keeper was declared the Hero of the Match for his splendid blocks.

Aizawl FC still are third in the table with 17 points from 9 matches with Kingfisher East Bengal and Mohun Bagan above them. Bengaluru FC remain stranded at the fifth spot with 12 points playing one match less.

Khalid Jamil, Aizawl FC coach commented on the match, “We deserved full points judging from the way my boys played.”

Bengaluru FC coach Alberto Roca also opined, “We should’ve got the three points. We can still be champions this season.”

Bengaluru FC will be heading to Mumbai for their next match while Aizawl FC will start preparations to take on Kingfisher East Bengal on February 20, 2017.