Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Sporting Club Bengaluru earns qualification to I-League 2024-25

AIFF Media 

Sporting Club Bengaluru were crowned champions of the 2023-24 I-League 2 with two rounds to spare as they beat Sudeva Delhi FC 1-0 at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Monday, April 15, 2024. The Golden Tigers have been promoted to the I-League 2024-25 for the first time ever.

Formed as recently as 2022, SC Bengaluru’s instant success story is one to take note of. It all started with their title-winning campaign in the 2022-23 Bangalore Super Division, their debut season in the league. As a result, they were eligible to participate in the 2023-24 I-League 3 and went on to top Group D only by a better goal difference over Diamond Harbour FC to qualify for the play-offs.

In the I-League 3 play-offs, SC Bengaluru finished in the top three alongside Dempo SC and Sporting Clube de Goa to book their spot in the I-League 2. Monday’s win cemented their status as champions as they took their tally to 27 points from 12 matches. Their sensational league triumph was mainly made possible by their impeccable home form. The Golden Tigers won all seven of their matches at the Bangalore Football Stadium. Their tally of 23 goals so far is the highest in the eight-team league, while they also boast of the joint-best defence, having conceded only 12 goals, same as Dempo – a testimony to their dominant and unrivalled campaign.

All of this came after a rough start to the season, with a couple of losses away to United SC and Dempo in their first three games. Chandrashekar Rao Chinta’s side then went on to win seven games in a row before a 3-4 loss to Sporting Clube de Goa last week halted that run. But the narrow win over Sudeva Delhi, thanks to Shaiborlang Kharpan’s first-half strike, proved enough to seal the title in SC Bengaluru’s favour, meaning they will become the first team to represent the city in the I-League since Bengaluru FC in 2016-17.

With the champions decided, the race for the runners-up and the second promotion spot remains wide open with as many as four teams still in the hunt ahead of the last two matchdays. Dempo SC are currently in second place with 21 points, followed by FC Bengaluru United and Sudeva Delhi FC on 20 points each and Sporting Clube de Goa on 19 points.

One could perhaps see Dempo or Sporting Goa making their much-awaited return to the I-League, or Sudeva Delhi bouncing back after their relegation last season, or maybe even Bengaluru United making it two in two for the city with a first-ever promotion. The next two weeks will provide all the answers.


Sunday, March 3, 2024

Karnataka crash out of Santosh Trophy

Losing the last game against Maharashtra, Karnataka finished bottom of Group B of final round of 77th Santosh Trophy in Itanagar, on Saturday, March 2, 2024. 

The star for the match was Mohammed Arfat Ansari for Maharashtra a who scored a hattrick. However, today’s win was not enough to Maharashtra to qualify for the quarter-final round. 

Manipur, Mizoram, Delhi, and Railways made to the knockout round from Group B.

It has been the worst performance for last five seasons for Karnataka. After dishing out an impressive performance by reaching semi-final in 2017–18, 2018–19, 2021–22, and winning the trophy last season, the state team failed to win a single game in the group stage this time. They needed to win the last two games to stay in contention for the knock-out round but lost 1-0 against Railways on Thursday, February 29 before losing 3-1 to Maharashtra on Saturday. 

    pic: Arunachal Pradesh Football Association

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Karnataka go down to 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manipur

 AIFF Media 

Defending champions Karnataka went down to Manipur in their third Group B game of 77th Santosh Trophy at the Golden Jubilee Stadium, in Itanagar, on Monday, February 26, 2024.


Ngangbam Pacha Singh scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot in the 50th minute.


This result puts a severe dent in the defending champions’ chances for qualification to the quarter-finals, as they remain at the rock bottom of Group B with just two points from three matches. While they will have their work cut out in their last two matches against Railways and Maharashtra, who are in their own battles for qualification, one win will put them right back on track.


While with today’s win, Manipur climbed to the top of Group B. The side from the Northeast have now collected seven points from their three games, and are three points clear atop Group B.


Karnataka will take on Railways on Thursday, February 29. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Karnataka rally back to hold Mizoram 2-2 in Santosh Trophy

AIFF Media 

Defending champions Karnataka came from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Mizoram in Group B of the 77th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy Final Round at the Golden Jubilee Stadium in Yupia, Arunachal Pradesh today morning. 

What looked Mizoram running away with full three points after goals from MS Dawngliana and MC Malsawmzuala but Karnataka showed the champion spirit to score twice in quick succession in the second half through Prabin Tigga and Vishal R to rescue a point. 

Today’s draw was Karnataka's second consecutive draw after a 1-1 result against Delhi on Thursday. 

Mizoram took the lead after a sensational move between Malsawmzuala and Dawngliana. With a superb behind-the-back flick, the former picked out the latter, who lashed a parabolic shot into the goal with a cleanly-hit half-volley. 

Mizoram were off the blocks quicker again in the second half and doubled their lead after another brilliant build-up. Winger Lalthankima got the better of Tigga with some exquisite footwork before cutting it in from the by-line. Arriving at the end of the cross was Malsawmzuala, who drove it into the bottom corner with a first-time shot.

But Karnataka were not done and dusted. Ravi Babu's side struck twice in two minutes to turn the game on its head. In the 67th minute, Nikhil Raj's cross from a free-kick slipped through the gloves of F Lalmuanawma and Tigga was on hand at the back post to bundle it in. Then, Sathish Kumar set up Vishal R with a great through ball into the final third. The latter took his time and slotted it in, wrongfooting Lalmuanawma.

Karnataka will be playing their third group game against Manipur on Monday, Feb 26.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Karnataka, Delhi settle for a draw in Santosh Trophy opener

Karnataka began their quest to defend the Santosh Trophy title with an 1-1 draw against Delhi played today morning at Golden Jubilee Stadium, Yupia, Arunachal Pradesh. 

Karnataka is placed in Group B along with Delhi, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, and Railways. 

Ravi Babu’s boys took the lead in 23rd minute from a wonderful wall pass from Vishal on which a 22-yard piledriver from Appu Arogyaswamy put the ball back on the net. The joy was short lived as Delhi equalized from a freak own goal by central defender Prabin Tigga three minutes later. 

Karnataka pressed hard, enjoyed most of the possession after changing ends but failed to score the winner. Their luck ran out when a Delhi striker was brought down by the other central defender Nikhil in the final moment of the game. Referee didn’t hesitate much in awarding a penalty to Delhi. Custodian Chirsturajan upped the ante and stopped Sridarth’s spot kick. 

Karnataka will be playing their second group game against Mizoram on Saturday, Feb 24, 10 AM, followed by Manipur (Feb 26), Railways (Feb 26), and Maharashtra (Mar 2).