Category: IFA Shield

Mohammedan SC go into the IFA Shield opener with cautious confidence

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club will be hoping to make a positive start to their campaign when they face ATK in the opening group game of the 122nd U-19 IFA Shield on Thursday at Barasat Stadium. Kick-off at 2:45 pm.

Both have very different objectives in mind for the IFA Shield and the result of this match will go some way towards deciding their chances of achieving those goals. For Mohammedan SC, the aim is simple – the eyes of coach Ananta Kumar Ghosh are firmly fixed on a place in the semifinals and three points against tournament underdogs ATK are a must.

In contrast, his ATK counterpart knows a top-four berth is likely to be out of reach for his charges and will instead be targeting at least one positive result in their IFA Shield debut.

Despite reaching the semifinals in the inaugural edition in 2015, Young Panthers are yet to win a match at the competition. Therefore, they will be desperate to make amends for their failure in the past editions and Ghosh says his side will go into their opener against ATK with cautious confidence.

“I must make it absolutely clear that we approach the IFA Shield with humility and a lot of respect for our opponents. We know what we have to do, but there is no way we underestimate any of our opponents,” he said.

Mohammedan SC face tough IFA Shield draw

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club has been handed a tough group at the 122nd U-19 IFA Shield after they were drawn to face defending champions FC Pune City, East Bengal and ATK in the group stage.

The Young Panthers will play the three clubs noted for their excellent youth players at the tournament, commencing from July 5, 2018.

Mohammedan SC face ATK in the opening match of the group on July 5 at Barasat Stadium. Three days later at the same venue, Mohammedan SC will battle against FC Pune City, before ending group campaign on July 11 when Mohammedan SC face East Bengal.

Interestingly, despite reaching the semifinals in the inaugural U-19 IFA Shield in 2015, the Young Panthers have failed to make it past the group stage in last two editions, therefor, Ananta Kumar Ghosh’s charges are eager to change the record.

Although Mohammedan SC has been handed a tough group but coach Ghosh remains optimistic for a good performance from his team.

122nd IFA Shiled commence from July 5

KOLKATA: The 122nd edition of the IFA Shield is slated to begin from July 5, 2018 in Kolkata. This year’s IFA Shield will not feature any foreign teams.

First held in 1893, IFA Shield is one of the oldest tournament of the country and the fourth oldest of the world, but gradually lost it’s glamour and relevance since the turn of the decade, and from 2015 the organizers of the tournament, the Indian Football Association (West Bengal) decided to make it an Under-19 tournament.

Eight teams are divided into two groups and the top two teams from each group will progress to the semifinals which are slated to be played on July 15 and 16 respectively, with the showpiece final to be held on July 19. Matches will be played at Barasat Stadium, East Bengal Ground and Mohun Bagan Ground.

East Bengal, FC Pune City, Mohammedan Sporting Club and ATK are clubbed in Group A while Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers, Tata Football Academy and the winner of the qualifying round make up Group B.

The qualifying round for the IFA Shield is starts from June 26 with a total of 13 teams. FC Pune City were the winners of the tournament last time around.

IFA Shield: Pune beat Bagan to claim title on tournament debut


KOLKATA: FC Pune City created history as they claimed title in their U-19 IFA Shield debut after beating Mohun Bagan 3-0 in the final on Sunday.

A brace from Gani Ahmmed Nigam and the other from Balkar Singh was all FC Pune City needed to confirm their status as the champions at Mohun Bagan Ground.

The feat by FC Pune City meant Mohun Bagan will have to wait for another year to get their hands on a major youth trophy.

Seeking to avenge the 1-0 loss in group stage, it was Mohun Bagan who got off well making their intent clear as early as the 7th minute. However, FC Pune City goalkeeper Anuj Kumar proved up to the task denying Deepak Tangri in a one-on-one situation.

Mohun Bagan had the better of possession and continued to threaten the FC Pune City back-line, who gained their feet as the match progressed.

FC Pune City recovered from the promising start of the home side, cheered on by an ecstatic crowd, and responded in the 19th minute when a corner by Mohammed Yasir was met by Gaurav Bora, whose header went inches above the crossbar with the Mohun Bagan defense caught ball watching.

Seven minutes later, indecisiveness on the part of Mohun Bagan keeper Sanjay Bhattacharya almost cost his side but he could afford a normal breathe after a Asish Rai header missed target narrowly after Wungngayam Muirang had crossed to him.

FC Pune City goalkeeper Anuj was to his side’s rescue saving Anirban Manna’s goal-bound shot after Deepak had headed his way inside the FC Pune City penalty area, three minutes before the break.

Mohun Bagan resumed stronger and aided by their swift passing game. In the 46th minute and five minutes later, Mohun Bagan had two chances to score but Arka Dey and Deepak failed to convert from close range.

Though Mohun Bagan had the upper hand in terms of possession but it was FC Pune City who looked purposeful upfront and broke the deadlock in the 54th minute when Gani tapped in a Nijwm Muchahary pass for the opener and silenced the deafening crowd.

Six minutes later, FC Pune City solidified their lead as Gani converted a penalty, which was awarded after Gaurav was brought down inside the box by Dangmei Gaipuilan.

Balkar, then, capped the afternoon by registering his name on the scoresheet in the 84th minute, finishing off a solo move with a shot past Sanjay and take the game beyond Mohun Bagan.

“The match was 50-50 and my players did very well to win. I congratulate my team for a good job,” FC Pune City’s Spanish coach Roger Lamesa Grau said once caught up with him.

“It was a satisfactory result and we worked very hard for it. We have come a long way but I won’t take anything away from Mohun Bagan. They showed how good they are even when they were down by three goals,” he added.

Incidentally, the final was the last match for the Spaniard at helm of FC Pune City youth setup.

By Debabrata Majumder

IFA Shield: Mohun Bagan, Pune City Square Off For Title


KOLKATA: Mohun Bagan and FC Pune City square off in the summit clash as the curtains on the 2017 U-19 IFA Shield folds up.

The two sides will meet in the ultimate game of the eight-team tournament, which has been highlighted by two-weeks of high class and entertaining football by the some of the finest youth talents in Indian football.

The encounter is a repeat of a Group-B clash which FC Pune City won 1-0, with a performance that earned them the favourites tag for the final.

However, Mohun Bagan have since recovered and beat the defending champions Tata Football Academy in their last group game which landed them a place at the last four.

Then, Mohun Bagan went on to beat Pathachakra 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw in the semis and set up a date with FC Pune City in the decisive match on Sunday at Mohun Bagan Ground.

The secret behind the successful journey of Mohun Bagan has been the never give-up spirit of coach Jo Paul Ancheri and his charges, coupled with the support of the club faithfuls, who have stood firmly behind the team from the onset.

Despite winning all the titles at senior level to offer, Mohun Bagan has yet inscribe it’s name on a major youth trophy, and Ancheri believes this team can break that jinx by completing their remarkable journey with an win against FC Pune City.

FC Pune City still start as favourites, but Ancheri is targeting a sweet revenge that will land him the ultimate or congratulate FC Pune City if the results go the other way.

With the FC Pune City squad dominated by Pune FC academy cadets, the Mohun Bagan coach admits his players are short of experience but believes in their abilities to deliver in the biggest game of their young careers.

“The final is the most important game of my team at the tournament. It is important for the careers of the players, and we will take this opportunity with both hands. I am urging all the fans to come to the ground and rally behind the boys to achieve victory.” said Ancheri.

On the other hand, FC Pune City’s Spanish coach Roger Lamesa Grau is upbeat their chances against the home team, who will have a sizeable crowd support for the final.

“Mohun Bagan is a strong team. We have beaten them earlier in the tournament but playing in the final, anything can happen. I expect a high level game because both teams are hardworking. My players are well prepared for the challenge and I am hoping luck will be on our side to aid our efforts,” said Grau.

IFA Shield: FC Pune City shootout AIFF Academy for final spot


KOLKATA: Ajin Tom agonisingly missed from the spot to allow FC Pune City to beat AIFF Elite Academy 7-6 via penalty shoot-out in their U-19 IFA Shield semifinal tie on Thursday.

The match went to penalties after both teams were locked 1-1 at the end of 90 minutes at Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata.

After each side had successfully converted five penalties, defender Tom’s effort was stopped by Anuj Kumar in the Pune City goal.

Gani Ahmmed Nigam then stepped up to score and take Pune City through to the final at the expense of a AIFF Academy side who were widely fancied coming into the tournament after winning the U-18 I-League a month ago.

Pune City started the encounter well prepared and enjoyed much of the play in the opening quarter of an hour yet they went behind against the run of play after Namgyal Bhutia converted from the spot in the 13th minute for the only goal of the first half.

At the restart, Pune City showed more hunger as they pinned AIFF Academy to their half and delivering more ball upfront for the strike pair of Gani and Nijwm Muchahary, who troubled their markers.

Pune City were rewarded for their efforts when defender Wungngayam Muirang slotted the equalizer home from Mohammad Yasir’s corner in the 75th minute.

Minutes later, Pune City had a chance to finish off the game when they were awarded with a penalty after Nijwm was fouled inside the box. However, Nijwm’s effort from the spot hit the woodwork and the striker found the side-netting with the rebound.

In the remainder of the game, either teams wasted opportunities to take the match to the shoot-out and it was Pune City side who held their nerve from the spot to go through.

Pune City, who are the only team to win all their matches in the competition, can now look forward to the summit clash against Mohun Bagan on Sunday.

IFA Shield: East Bengal crash out after draw with Mohammedan


KOLKATA: East Bengal’s U-19 IFA Shield hopes were ended after a goalless draw with Mohammedan Sporting Club at East Bengal Ground on Sunday.

Going into the game, Mohammedan were already eliminated after losing two previous matches against Pathachakra Club (2-1) and AIFF Elite Academy (4-0), while East Bengal had to win and hope for a favour from AIFF Academy in the day’s other game at Howrah, but there was to be no miracle as Pathachakra beat AIFF Academy 2-0.

East Bengal were one of the pre-tournament favourites but they go out without winning a game, with Pathachakra and AIFF Academy progressing to the semifinals respectively as winners and runners-up of Group-A.

East Bengal started with confidence and might have had the opener in the 20th minute when Lalchhanhima missed out on a square pass from Bidyashagar Singh on the right wing.

But after the two teams broke on the half hour mark for a brief cooling break, Mohammedan emerged much more attacking flair and should have been ahead three minutes later when Goutam Teli was unmarked at the back post but missed his shot from just yards out.

A snap effort from Sachin Singh in the 42nd minute was also off target, as was Parwej Ali’s hard strike just before the break.

Changing over, both sides battled hard in the midfield. However, it was Mohammedan who had the better chances to take the lead.

Mohammedan kept on pushing forward and had two more close chances midway through the half, but the strike pair of Goutam and Sachin were both denied by the East Bengal custodian Sovan Biswas.

First Goutam charged up and took a crack on the target but the attempt was palmed away by the keeper in the 62nd minute. Then, Sachin was denied by a last ditch clearance after he did well to get a shot on target in the 64th minute.

In the final quarter, both sides engaged in an end-to-end battle but couldn’t break the deadlock as the game ended goalless.

IFA Shield: Mohammedan play for pride; East Bengal want much more


KOLKATA: Despite their present predicament at the ongoing U-19 IFA Shield 2017, Mohammedan Sporting Club have vowed to contest their last Group A match against East Bengal with pride and passion at East Bengal Ground on Sunday (4 June, 2017).

Mohammedan SC are perched at the bottom of the table without a point after losing two previous matches against Pathachakra Club (2-1) and AIFF Elite Academy (4-0) while East Bengal salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw with Pathachakra but their campaign had long been dealt a blow following their opening 2-1 loss to AIFF Academy.

East Bengal need to win well against Mohammedan and hope Pathachakra lose against AIFF Academy to be certain of progressing.

“We have nothing to look forward to than a positive result in our last match against East Bengal on Sunday,” Mohammedan’s U-19 coach, Zaheer Abbas Hamza said on the eve of the clash.

“Of course the disappointment is there because we did not achieve our goal but this is a learning period where these young players need to get maximum experience. I am pleased and proud of my players for their display.

It is an opportunity for us to see how the boys would react under this difficult situation to defend the honour of the club. I want the players to play with the motivation and give our fans one last moment of joy this season,” added the former India midfielder.

Speaking in the same vein, East Bengal coach Tarun Dey said he was not oblivious about the task ahead, insisting that his wards would go all out against Mohammedan to have any realistic chance of progressing beyond the group stage.

“We don’t have control over what happens in Howrah between AIFF Academy and Pathachakra but we must come up with a very good result against Mohammedan SC; we must win with a good margin,” stated the East Bengal legend.

Incidentally, Mohammedan SC and East Bengal have met nine times at this level with East Bengal claiming victory in all past encounters.

In the other Group A match at Howrah Stadium, AIFF Academy with six points already and a semifinal spot will square up against their closest adversary, Pathachakra who have four points.

Both matches will kick-off respectively at 3:30 PM in East Bengal Ground and Howrah Stadium.

Mohammedan SC bow out of the IFA Shield

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club bowed out of the ongoing U-19 IFA Shield 2017 as they suffered a 0-4 defeat to AIFF Elite Academy on Thursday at Mohammedan Sporting Ground.

Naorem Roshan Singh’s (49th & 55th minute) barce and a goal each from Joysana Singh (2nd) and Lalnuntlunga (61st) sealed a convincing victory for AIFF Academy that guided them into the semifinals of the competition.

AIFF Academy set the ball rolling from the start with swift short passes holding ball possession and went ahead as early as the 2nd minute through Joysana who guided Namgyal Bhutia’s free-kick into the back of the net with a delicate touch.

Having conceded early on, Mohammedn SC began attacking with intensity through Goutam Teli, Sachin Singh and Yenten Sherpa but rivals AIFF Academy managed to hold on defending deep as the first half ended 1-0.

AIFF Academy were the better team in the second half who were dominating the possession and within four minutes into the session they made it 2-0 through Roshan.

Meanwhile, Mohammedan SC almost pulled a goal back through Roshan Tamang in the 52nd miunte but the midfielder’s effort was denied by the AIFF Academy keeper Aditya Patra on the far post.

Three minutes later, Mohammedan SC defense wilted under pressure as their citadel crumbled yet again when Roshan chipped one over from 25-yards out as Mohammedan SC keeper Syed Bin Abdul Qadir was nowhere near his goal.

Then in the 61st minute, Lalnuntlunga rounded off the tally scoring with an angular drive to complete yet another comfortable win for the reigning U-18 I-League champions.

Mohammedan SC to open IFA Shield campaign against Pathchakra


KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club to open their campaign in the U-19 IFA Shield 2017 against Pathchakra Club at Mohammedan Sporting Club Ground on Sunday, 28th May 2017.

Instituted back in 1893, the IFA Shield is the fourth oldest cup tournament in the world after the English and Scottish FA Cup’s and the Durand Cup. Since 2015, the tournament is being conducted for Under-19 teams and follows a league cum knock out format.

Mohammedan Sporting Club is clubbed in Group A along with recently crowned U-18 I-League champions AIFF Elite Academy, East Bengal and Pathchakra Club.

In Group B, last year’s winners Tata Football Academy, Minerva Punjab FC, Mohun Bagan and FC Pune City will fight it out for top two positions.

Mohammedan Sporting Club, General Secretary, Ghazal uz Zafar, said; “IFA Shield provides us an opportunity to evaluate progress of our youth players amongst the best from India and serves as a developmental curve for players both on and off the field.”

The 121st edition of the IFA Shield will kick off tomorrow when East Bengal take on AIFF Elite Academy at East Bengal Ground.

28.5.2017: Mohammedan Sporting Club vs Pathchakra Club  (at Mohammedan Sporting Club Ground)
1.6.2017: Mohammedan Sporting Club vs AIFF Elite Academy (at Mohammedan Sporting Club Ground)
4.6.2017: Mohammedan Sporting Club vs East Bengal (at East Bengal Ground)