Category: Durand Cup

Durand Cup: Army Green beat Neroca FC in sudden death to clinch the title

By Ajay Majumder

New Delhi: Army Green beat Neroca FC 6-5 in sudden death to clinch the title in the 128th Durand Cup after the final ended goalless in regulation time and extra time, on Sunday at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

This is the first time in past ten years when a Army team crowned champions of the prestigious competition after Army XI in 2005. Coincidentally, Army XI also beat Sporting Clube de Goa in penalties to claim the title.

The champion team received cash award of Rs 45 lacs – highest cash prize in the history of the Durand Cup – while runners-up got Rs 20 lacs.

The first half was a evenly matched contest with both teams adopting a cautious approach to the match. For the initial period play was concentrated in midfield.

However, as the game progressed Neroca gradually gained control and created game’s first scoring opportunity when Ashok Singh’s cross from left found an unmarked Malemngamba Meetei inside the rival box but the midfielder failed to keep his effort on target.

Army Green, meanwhile, after soaking pressure in the early exchanges, did show some excellent moves in patches but find it difficult to penetrate the rival box as the first half ended goalless.

The second half was a similar story as both sides opted for a midfield oriented game without taking any risks. Neroca FC had their chances through Sushil Singh and Subash Singh while Army Green went close through Herojit Singh and skipper PC Lallawmkina but neither could break the deadlock as the game progressed to the thirty minutes of extra time.

In extra time both the teams wasted opportunities to take the match to the shootout where Lallawmkina, PD Gurung, Uttan Das, Linesh PV, Bikash Budhathoki and Bikram Adhikari scored for Army Green while Boby Chand was denied by Neroca FC keeper Lalit Thapa.

On the other hand, for Neroca FC, Subhash, David Lalbiaklara, Sohail Shah, Dhananjoy Singh and Ashok converted their chances while Sushil saw his effort saved by Army Green custodian Muhamad Shanoos, Govin Singh hit the woodwork.

Durand Cup: Army Green pip Aizawl FC in penalties to enter final

By Ajay Majumder

NEW DELHI: Army Green entered the final of the ongoing ongoing 128th Durand Cup after defeating Aizawl FC 7-5 on penalties here today.

The second semi-final of the competition saw both sides level at 3-3 till the end of 120 minutes which resulted in a tie-breaker at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi.

Dominating the first half Army Green took the lead before the interval through Bikash Budhathoki, who slotted a back volley in the 23rd minute from a long throw-in. Aizawl made a splendid comeback in the second half and restored the partity in the 73rd minute when Bright Middleton Mends headed home before Lalramchullova put them infront five minutes later from the spot. However, Bikram Adhikari equalised for Army Green in the 83rd minute from a free-kick to drag the game into the extra time.

Army Green began the extra time brightly and went ahead for the second time in the game when Herojit Singh capitalised on error by Aizawl FC custodian Lalawmpuia to put his team in front at the very first minute of the extra time.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Aizawl FC almost pulled level but Bright Middleton Mends’ header off a flag-kick missed the target by a whisker.

Thereafter, the highlanders increased their pressure up front putting the Army Green defense under serious threat. The pressure paid off as Aizawl FC found the leveller in the 97th minute. A delightful cross floated in from the right by Lalrinzaula found Mends in the box and the Ghanaian slotted home another header.

In the final few minutes of the game, both sides tried hard for the winner couldn’t break the deadlock as the game went to the shootout where Army Green held their nerve and prevailed 4-2.

This is the first time in past ten years when a Army team have reached the final of the competition after Army XI, who beat Sporting Clube de Goa to claim the title in 2005.

Army Green will face Neroca FC, who ease past DSK Shivajians 3-0 earlier in the day, in the Grand Finale on Sunday.


Durand Cup: DSK Shivajians’ campaign end with semi-final loss


9th September 2016 – Delhi, India – DSK Shivajians FC was done in by Neroca FC 0-3 and with it ended their dream run in the 128th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi on Friday.

The Manipur-side netted via Sushil Kumar Singh (36th minute), Malemnganba Meitei (65th), Anandkumar Singh (90+3) to squash DSK Shivajians hopes.

The loss, however, did ensure that DSK Shivajians pieced history for themselves. They became the first team from Pune to reach the Durand Cup semifinals.

Manager Dave Rogers made five changes in his playing eleven. Given starts were goalkeeper Sayak Barai, Mohd. Sajid Dhot, Vanlalremkima, K. Lalthathanga, while Lalawmpuia earned his maiden first start. Making way were Rakshit Dagar, Zohmingliana Ralte, Sairuat Kima, Hitova Ayemi and Gagandeep Singh.

DSK Shivajians began the game on the offensive and had close chances early on with a host of corner kicks. Defender Mohd. Sajid Dhot went the closest in the 10th minute when his header off Juan Quero’s corner kick from the right whizzed past the second post.

Despite the heat taking its toll on the players, DSK Shivajians continued to dominate proceedings before a taking a breather with a water break at the half hour mark.

Post the break; Neroca FC began pushing up and creating pressure around the DSK Shivajians box. Medio Rohit Kumar was pulled up for a late tackle on rival striker Singam Subash Singh and the referee awarded Neroca FC a penalty-kick. Sushil Kumar Singh stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way (0-1).

DSK Shivajians re-composed themselves and began pushing up. However, despite having the better chances, the score at halftime favoured Neroca FC 1-0.

The second half began with both sides playing a high tempo game. DSK Shivajians were charging up from the flanks as Neroca pushed up on counter attacks.

Ten minutes in, Manager Dave Rogers made the first change as Juan Quero made way for North Korean striker Kim Song Yong with DSK Shivajians seeking an equaliser.

However, it was Neroca FC who doubled their lead in the 65th minute. Sushil Kumar Singh curled in a cross from the right to find David Lalbiakzara in the box. The ex-Shivajians midfielder chested the ball down to K. Malemnganba Meitei who smashed home a half-volley from the top edge of the box leaving custodian Sayak Barai helpless in the DSK Shivajians goal.

DSK Shivajians kept pressing high up in search of a goal and almost reduced the deficit in the 78th minute. Substitute Kim Song Yong received a long ball on the right as he managed to break the offside trap and run clear in the box. However, as he tried to lob the keeper, his attempt went agonisingly wide. Minutes later Lalawmpuia benefited from the loose ball after the rival ‘keeepr had a soft collection, but his effort way wayward with no one, but a defender in goal.

Three minutes into injury time, Neroca FC sealed the game with another goal when substitute Anandkumar Singh finished off a cross from the right flank to make the scoreline 3-0.

Durand cup: DSK Shivajians FC face-off against Neroca FC for a place in final


8th September 2016 – Delhi, India – Debutants DSK Shivajians FC will hope to continue their historic run when they face-off against Neroca  FC in the semifinals of the 128th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi, on Friday.

The youthful DSK Shivajians ensured their place in the last-four with a 2-1 victory over Army Green in a must-win game and will hope to build on the momentum against Group-B runners-up Neroca FC when they return to familiar surrounds.

For the record, DSK Shivajians played four consecutive games at the venue, which included two wins, a draw and loss, before beating the defence side in the last game at the Harbaksh Stadium to top Group-A with 10 points.

On the other hand, the Manipur side is no pushover and made it to the knockout stage with the distinction of being the only team to boast of an unbeaten record in this edition of the competition.

Talking about the challenge Neroca FC would possess for DSK Shivajians’, First Team Manager Dave Rogers said: “Neroca are a very hard working team with a good blend of youth and experience. On their day, they are more than capable of beating any team. So, we know that if we are to progress, then we will have to be at our best to overcome the fierce challenge of NEROCA.”

Friday’s semi-final clash will be the first time the two teams play each other. Both the teams are expected to start with their strongest eleven to have a better chance of making it to the final of Asia’s oldest football tournament.

Going into the match, after a three-day break following a hectic weekend, where DSK Shivajians played thrice in four days the team will be fresh for the battle ahead.

Moreover, the team now has a full 20-member squad at their disposal to choose the final playing eleven. Delighted with the fact, Dave Rogers added: “It is exciting and challenging for me to be now in a position to select a starting eleven from a full squad of players who are not only eager and excited to play but are also in this together to achieve the same goals.”

Captain Juan Quero, club’s joint top-scorer along with Rohit Kumar, has scored four goals and will be looking to add to that tally inFriday’s match. Meanwhile, the Pune-based team will also look to build upon their impressive defensive display against Army Green with Mohd. Sajid Dhot now back from a one-match suspension.

Durand Cup: Sporting demolish Minerva; keeps semifinal hopes alive

SCG Press release

New Delhi: Sporting Clube de Goa put up a brilliant performance to stay alive in the Durnad Cup 2016 as they thrashed Minerva Academy 5 – 0 in their last group stage match here at Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi. Glan Martins (14’) opened the score board for Sporting while Cajetan Fernandes (19’), George D’Souza (73’), Alber Gonsalves (90’+3) and Marcus Mascarenhas (90’+6) got on the score sheet for the Goan side.

Sporting Clube de Goa produced yet another clinical first half performance with some quick attacking football. Gaffer Mateus Costa made two changes to the previous side that beat Gangtok, Alber Gonsalves came in place of Victorino Fernandes while George D’Souza came in place of Ponif Vaz who was down with fever. Costa adopted the 4-2-3-1 formation with Marcus Mascarenhas leading the attack. Sporting started off well as Ganesh Thakur and Marcus made some good moves early in the match. The show stopper was Glan Martins 14th minute thunderbolt from about 22 yards off. Alber Gonsalves sighted Martins with some room to shoot and send in a low cross towards him. Glan Martins charged forward and struck it perfectly to land it in the top right corner of the nets. Soon in the 19th minute Cajetan Fernandes doubled the lead with a brilliant free kick from the edge of the box placing it well at the corner giving the Minerva keeper no chance to react. After this Minerva tried getting back in the game as Manandeep Singh and Jaison Vales created some good moves among themselves but failed to break down the Sporting defense. The Sporting keeper Ravi Kumar had an exceptional day in between the sticks. The score stayed 2 – 0 at the half time.

The second half saw both sides going for the goal right from the kick off. Minerva players gave in their best but couldn’t get past the experienced back four of Sporting. In the 73rd minute Sporting won a free kick close to the centre line, George D’Souza who took an aim at the goal and managed to beat the keeper making it 3 – 0 in favour of Sporting. Minerva forward Manandeep Singh tried hard but couldn’t produce the match changing performance. Sporting added two more in the injury time when Alber managed to head in a George free kick while Quan Gomes set up Marcus with a brilliant cross making it 5 – 0 in favour of Sporting. With this win Sporting climb to 2ndposition in Group A with 7 points and a healthy goal difference of +7 but will have to wait for a favourable result (i.e. Draw) of the match between Army Green & Gangtok Himalayan which will be held on 7th Sept (Wednesday) to confirm their semi-final breath.

Durand Cup: DSK Shivajians FC enter historic semi-finals, down Army Green to top group


5th September 2016 – Delhi, India – DSK Shivajians FC achieved the mission they set out with by registering a 2-1 win over Army Green and book a historic semi-final berth in the 128th Durand Cup at the Harbaksh Stadium, on Monday.

Two penalty kick conversions by Spanish winger and skipper Juan Quero (6th and 9th minutes) proved decisive, but not before clinical second half defending that led to DSK Shivajians emerging victorious. Army Green could only pull one back via Herojit Singh (36th minute).

The result helped first-timers DSK Shivajians finish their five-match Group A engagements with 10 points in their kitty and guaranteed them top spot in the group. The win was DSK Shivajians third in the tournament, which includes a draw and loss.

Manager Dave Rogers made seven changes to the playing eleven which included, goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar, Sairuat Kima, Rohit Kumar, Shane McFaul and the return of injured Zohmingliana Ralte and Gagandeep Singh, while Hitova Ayemi earned his maiden first start.

Needing only a win to progress to the last-four, DSK Shivajians got off to a perfect start as they took the lead in the 6th minute. After a defender had handled Hitova Ayemi’s ball in the box, skipper Juan Quero stepped up and slotted home the resultant penalty for his third goal of the competition.

Three minutes later, Quero doubled the lead with one more penalty kick conversion, his second of the game and third in the tournament, after referee penalised Army Green for another handball in the box. With the strike, he joined Rohit Kumar as the top goalscorer with four goals to his name.

After that, DSK Shivajians controlled the majority of the proceedings and created many chances. Sairuat Kima was in the thick of the action going close with a couple of headers which went just wide.

As DSK Shivajians were weaving attacks up front, Army Green capitalised on a small defensive error at the other end to pull one back in the 36th minute.

After Quero had lost the ball in the midfield, the opponents pumped it up immediately. Defender Zohmingliana Ralte held off Army Green’s Herojit Singh on the edge of the box hoping for ‘keeper Rakshit Dagar to make a collection. However, Herojit overpowered Ralte and managed to tip the ball past an advanced Rakshit and into the goal to bring Army Green back into the match.

DSK Shivajians led 2-1 going into the breather.

The second half saw both sides play aggressively and once again it was DSK Shivajians who had the first close chance in the opening ten minutes. This time, Hitova Ayemi almost put DSK Shivajians 3-1 up in the 53rd minute after rounding off the keeper on Arif Shaikh’s through ball, but his attempt had defender Boby Chand Singh clear off the line.

Ten minutes later, it was Army Green who went close. Medio Uttam Das penetrated the DSK Shivajians defence, but skipper Lallawmkina’s shot from close range went just over the woodwork as the scoreline remained 2-1.

The game slowed down in the final 30 minutes with both sides playing cautiously. DSK Shivajians, meanwhile, did well to hold on to their lead and seal a well-deserved 2-1 win.

DSK Shivajians will play the runners-up of Group B in the semi-final on Friday, 9th September 2016.

Durand Cup: DSK Shivajians stunned by Minerva FC, must-win last match to qualify


4th September, 2016 – Delhi, India – DSK Shivajians FC once again fell prey to a last-minute goal and went down 1-2 to Minerva FC in the 128th Durand Cup at the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi on Sunday.

The loss was DSK Shivajians’ first in the competition, while Minerva FC registered their first win. Having played out a goalless first-half, DSK Shivajians were first to score when Spanish winger and skipper Juan Quero converted a penalty-kick in the 60th minute. Minerva FC equalised through Lago Bei (79th minute), before Manandeep Singh (90th minute) handed DSK Shivajians a shocker.

The result put a spoke in DSK Shivajians chances of making the semi-finals, which, instead hinges on the last match they play against Army Green on Monday. The match against the defence squad is a must-win situation for DSK Shivajians to progress into the knock-out stage, but above all, it also opened up a chance for Indian Navy as well.

The position in Group-A is; DSK Shivajians (7 points from 4 games) lead, followed by Indian Navy (6 points from 4). Breathing close is Army Green (5 points from 3). Sporting Clube de Goa (4 points from 4) and Minerva FC (4 points from 4) share the fourth spot, while Gangtok Himalayan (3 points from 3) is at the bottom.

Manager Dave Rogers made five changes to the squad. Sayak Barai, Mohd. Sajid Dhot, Maan Singh and Kim Song Yong were brought in along with Amey Ranawade, who earned his maiden start. Those rested included, Rakshit Dagar, Shane McFaul, Surchandra Singh, Sairuat Kima, Zohmingliana Ralte.

In a half dominated by physical game play, it was Minerva’s Manandeep Singh and DSK Shivajians’ Kim Song Yong who had close chances early on. While the woodwork denied Manandeep, Kim went just wide with his header.

As the game progressed, Minerva had their best chance of the first half in the 23rd minute when striker Marcus Lopez had an attempt from close. However, the Guam attacker found a brilliant point-blank save by Sayak Barai keep the score goalless.

In the final minute of the half, DSK Shivajians had an excellent opportunity to take the lead when Quero curled in a perfect free kick into the box to find Kim. However, the North Korean striker, who managed to connect a header, once again went inches wide as the first half ended goalless.

The second half was a fast paced affair with both sides creating numerous chances in the opening quarter. However, it was DSK Shivajians who controlled much of the proceedings with some good moves.

Having piled on constant pressure over the rival goal, DSK Shivajians finally broke the deadlock in the 60th minute. Juan Quero, on his second attempt, converted from the penalty spot after striker Kim Song Yong was brought down by Minerva’s defender Gagandeep Singh inside the box. In fact, Quero had scored from the first attempt too, but referee A. Rowan asked for a re- take.

With DSK Shivajians pushing up, Minerva levelled scores at the other end against the run of play in the 79th minute. Nigerian striker Lago Dogbo Bei was the fastest to react to a cross inside the box and scored with a powerful header past ‘keeper Sayak Barai.

DSK Shivajians then conceded late on for the second consecutive game in an ensuing melee that led to Sayak leaving his line and coming forth. The ball, still in danger, deflected onto unmarked striker Manandeep Singh, who slotted into an empty net to dash DSK Shivajians hopes of earning a point.

DSK Shivajians will now play their last Group A game against Army Green at the Harbaksh Stadium on Monday.

Durand Cup: Minerva Academy hold Army Green 2-2


Delhi: Minerva Academy FC took on Army Green in an all important fixture today at Harbakash Stadium, Delhi. The crucial clash saw Minerva Academy FC coming in with 6 changes again, goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh faced with a sudden illness made way for 16 year old rookie Goalkeeper Shamsher Singh, Liberian Korhena Boakai was rested for Jarmanjit Singh who came back from suspension. The midfield too saw a couple of changes as Clifford Miranda who sufferd a concussion and head injury in the last match was replaced by young Girik Khosla. In the midfield, former Dempo SC man Steven Fernandes and 15 year old sensation Jackson Singh were rested in favour of Amandeep Singh and former Churchill man Jaison Vales. The three pronged Minervan attack comprised of Girik Khosla, Guam National Team player Marcus Lopez and Victor Amobi  who tried to compensate for Manandeep Singh who was serving his suspension from picking up a red card in the last match. Army Green who had 4 points from their two matches played, came into the game having won their last match against I-league giants Sporting Club de Goa. Army green were eager for a win to secure their spot in the semi finals.

A Determined Minerva Academy FC side came into action from the very first minute with Nigerian Victor Amboi’s incredible run through the flanks and a beautiful cross for his teammate Jarmajit only to see his header go wide. The next following few minutes brought in a few very good moves from Minervan players but all attempts at the goal were either off target or saved by the keeper who stayed. Minerva however did not loose hope and tried their best to score but all efforts were in vain. 15 Minutes into the game and  Army Green now seemed to be settling in, opening up the Midfield and using its flanks very efficiently. Minerva’s Defence however didn’t entertain much of Army Greens moves until at the 22 minute when a wrong pass by Minervan midfielder Amandeep Singh at the centre saw Army Green’s midfield making the best of it with a counter attack and scoring their first goal. Minervans looked undeterred and again started afresh with flooding the Army Green’s defence with numerous counter attacks and some fine footwork from Strikers Marcus Lopez and Girik Khosla however all efforts through the flanks from Victor Amboi and Akashdeep Singh were flicked out by the Army Green Defenders who were getting away with lot of rough play. In the meanwhile Girik Kohsla was booked for a 50-50 attempt with the Army Green goalkeeper and was shown a yellow card. The next couple of moments saw Army Green making some dangerous moves in the centre of the park but a fierce Minervan Defence made it for them difficult. However again in the 35th Minute, Minerva’s young keeper, Shamsher Singh who was playing his first game of the tournament, brought down a charging army striker, which made the referee point to the spot. Army Green converted the penalty making the score 2-0 in Army’s favour. Minervans once again found themselves under pressure but kept raiding the opposition half till the half time whistle.

A two goal lead at the half mark made Army Greens very confident and gave them a upper hand but Minervans were very there from some serious business and didnt let the score line discourage them when the returned from the break. They got straight to work and fought back hard. Striker Girik Khosla missed an easy chance, Marcus and Jaison Vales both took dangerous long range shots at the goal. Some beautiful moves from Minervan Midfield anchored by experienced goan Jaison Vales caused problems keeping the Army Green Defenders busy. A ray of hope came in 48th Minute when Jaison Vales was brought down on top of the box and free kick was awarded to Minerva. Marcus Lopez, Guam International stepped up to take the free kick and did his job well by beating the wall and sending a thundering shot into the far left corner of the goalpost giving the Army Green’s goalkeeper absolutely no chance to save it.

A determined Minervan side then made a number of good attacks to equalise the score but a rough defending by Army Green saw minerva making nothing out of it. In the 75th minute, the ball was released beautifully by Jaison Vales to Victor Amobi who rushed into the box for a great opportunity only to be brought down by the Army keeper. This time the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. Guam international Marcus stepped up to do the honours and indeed he did his job very well, drawing the scores at 2-2. The next ten minutes saw the introduction of Ivory Coast striker Lago Bei who came on for Marcus Lopez. His fresh legs and fantastic play gave Minerva numerous more chances before the final whistle. The Minervans squandered many corners and failed to score the winner while Army started deploying time wasting tactics to slow down the game. Despite long stoppages during the play, only 2 minutes of extra time were added and Minerva could not score the winner and failed to get the full three points they were after. The lads form chandigarh had to settle for a Draw 2-2.

Minerva Academy next face an experienced Sporting Club De Goa team tomorrow at 4.00 in Ambedkar stadium,Delhi.

Durand Cup: SC de Goa thrash Gangtok Himalayan SC 5-1

SCG Press Release

Sporting Clube de Goa proved to be too hot for the highlanders as the Goan side thrashed their Gangtok opponents 5 – 1 in their 4thmatch of Durand Cup 2016. Cajetan Fernandes (4’) opened the flood gates with an early header while, Marcus Mascarenhas (17’),Joseph Pereira (33’), Ganesh Thakur (45’+) & Victorino Fernandes (55’) got their names on the score sheet. For GangtokHimalayan SC Rishab Sharma (19’) scored the consolation goal.

Sporting Clube de Goa was off to a flying start right from the kick-off. In the very first minute Victorino Fernandes made a dazzling run but couldn’t get his shot off. In the 4th minute Sporting won a corner which was delivered elegantly by Harpreet Singh finding Cajetan Fernandes in the box who slotted home the early goal Sporting were looking for. Sporting maintained a good shape and looked dangerous with the aerial balls. In the 17th minute the Goan side won another corner kick which was a carbon copy of the first, Harpreet Singh once again managed to send in a beauty this time to find Marcus at the end of it who powered it past the Gangtok keeper. Trying to get back into the game Gangtok SC  made some brilliant passes to find Rishab Sharma who beat the Sporting defenders and put one past Ravi Kumar to make it 2 -1 in the 19th minute. Just when Gangtok SC felt they were getting back in the game Joseph Pereira hoodwinked the defenders to brilliantly control a ball from Ganesh Thakur and slot it past the keeper making it 3 – 1. After setting up the previous goal Ganesh Thakur himself slotted in the 4th goal just before half-time. In the injury time Gangtok SC won a penalty but it was just one of those days where nothing could go against Sporting as Rishab hit the post and missed their chance to narrow the gap. Score stayed 4 – 1 at the half-time.

Crossing over Sporting were completely in control, Glan Martins and Cajetan Fernandes bossed the midfield. At the other end Loveday Enyinnaya & Harpreet Singh put up a brilliant show. The attacking intent of Harpreet and Loveday made things worse for the highlanders. In the 55th minute Victorino Fernandes further increased the gap with a 22 yards rasping shot which went past the keeper making it 5 – 1 with little left to play for Gangtok SC. Rest of the half saw Sporting dominate proceedings while creating some good chances. Towards the injury time Victorino Fernandes  of Sporting & Baichung of Gangtok SC were given their marching orders by the referee for a rough tackle.

Durand Cup: DSK Shivajians FC wary of Minerva FC threat


3rd September, 2016 – Delhi, India – DSK Shivajians FC is a step short of adding another page to their history when they clash with Minerva FC in a Group-A encounter of the 128th Durand Cup 2016 at the Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi on Sunday.

Having gathered seven points from their first three matches, DSK Shivajians has put themselves in the race for a berth in the semi-finals. But, for DSK Shivajians to be certain they need to extend their unbeaten run, rather than leave it for their last match to decide which would mean playing within 24 hours against Army Green.

The scenario in Group-A is; DSK Shivajians (7 points; 3 games), Indian Navy (6 points from 4), Army Green (4 points from 2).

The encounter, competitively, is a first for both sides. However, the lead up into this game has been a contrast for both. DSK Shivajians began with a 2-1 victory over Sporting Clube de Goa, then followed it up with a 2-1 verdict over Gangtok Himalayan SC, before playing out an exciting 3-3 draw with Indian Navy, where a last-gasp goal denied them three wins in-a-row

Chandigarh-based Minerva FC has been at the receiving end by going fighting 0-2 to Gangtok Himalayan SC and then 0-3 to Indian Navy where they finished the game with 10-men.

Ahead of the crucial match, DSK Shivajians First Team Manager Dave Rogers said: “They have some good individual players who if are given time and space, could cause problems.”

On paper, Minerva FC, runners-up of last year’s I-League Second Division, has an experienced lineup, something that DSK Shivajians will be wary. Manager Rogers realises and, explains “We know this will be a tough game and one that need us to be at our best to achieve a positive result. No game of football is a given for any team, so we know that apart from trying to play good football, we must also win our battles throughout the pitch to achieve a positive outcome.”

Having made his observations, Rogers for a fact has a load of positives that he takes into the game. To begin with, DSK Shivajians has done well to take the lead and win, likewise hold their nerves to come back after conceding a goal.

Adding up is Dave has four scorers, namely Rohit Kumar (4 goals); Kim Song Yong, Arif Shaikh and Juan Quero who scored seven among themselves. The tactical rotation of foreign players  and finding the right composition has led to almost all of the 18-man squad getting a chance on the field.

While the positives are many, conceding goals in the latter part of the second half remains.

On the other hand, the list of casualties in the DSK Shivajians camp has increased after Zohmingliana Ralte received a concussion while going for a ball in the last match against Indian Navy. Gagandeep Singh, who injured himself against Gangtok Himalayan, is still out of the reckoning.

Dave added, “The players must keep believing in themselves, their ability and continue to enjoy the occasion.”

Aware that Minerva FC is yet to get their scoring act together, DSK Shivajians, with youth and experience combining well, look set. A clean sheet could add up to confidence on the morrow, the biggest target DSK Shivajians will hope is to get a positive result.

On the other hand, the list of casualties in the DSK Shivajians camp has increased after Zohmingliana Ralte received a concussion while going for a ball in the last match against Indian Navy. Gagandeep Singh, who was injured in the match against Gangtok Himalayan, is still out of reckoning.

Looking ahead Dave observed, “The players must keep believing in themselves, their ability and continue to enjoy the occasion.”

Aware that Minerva FC is yet to get their scoring act together, DSK Shivajians, with youth and experience combining well, look set. A clean sheet could add up as another positive but probably the biggest target DSK Shivajians will hope for is to get a positive result.