Category: Super Cup

AIFF fines six I-League clubs for boycotting Super Cup

NEW DELHI: The Disciplinary Committee of the All India Football Federation consisting of Ushanath Banerjee (Chairman), Haresh Vora, Adithya Reddy, Prateek Chadda, and Madhab M Ghosh delivered their unanimous decisions on 16th May 2019 regarding non participation of Hero I-League clubs in the Hero Super Cup 2019.

The Committee met with all the individual Club Officials, and took on record their views and representations. The Committee after a detailed analysis of the Constitution of AIFF, Rules and Regulations, Participation Agreements and after considering the representations of the clubs, came out with the following decisions:

1. The Committee received details of the losses incurred on Production, Marketing and Match Organization from various sources which was quantified and decided to refer the assessment and adjudication of the compensation to the AIFF Executive Committee which is the highest Body of the AIFF.

2. The Committee took a very adverse view of the actions of the Clubs and reasons for their non-participation in the Hero Super Cup 2019, and unanimously decided that the clubs have indulged in activities which tantamount to holding the National Federation to ransom and ridiculing it and its officials openly through media or otherwise and that too on presumptive assumptions. Neither the President nor any Office bearers of AIFF has individual power or authority for realignment of the competitions of the AIFF as this power is only with the Executive Committee. Even though the President was not under any obligation or under any provision, decisions and directions in the AIFF Constitution to meet the officials of the above Clubs, he as a matter of goodwill offered to meet the clubs on a stipulated date. The actions of the Clubs have resulted in tarnishing the image of the sport as well as the Parent Body.

Accordingly, the Committee decided to impose penalties upon Aizawl FC, Churchill Brothers, Gokulam Kerala FC, Minerva Punjab FC, NEROCA and Quess East Bengal. The detailed adjudication and the quantum of penalty have been communicated to the clubs individually. As regards Mohun Bagan, since they had withdrawn from the competition, and had also not registered their players, the matter will be referred to Arbitration as per the provisions of the Participation Agreement.

Super Cup 2019: Goa overcome Chennaiyin to clinch 2019 Hero Super Cup title

Bhubaneswar: Goa emerged as champions of the 2019 Hero Super Cup after they beat Chennaiyin 2-1 in a tense affair at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.Ferran Corominas opened the scoring in the 51st minute with a simple tap-in.

Despite Goa being billed as the favourites to take home the crown, it was Chennaiyin, who started the game as the better of the two sides. Rafael Augusto, Anirudh Thapa and Dhanpal Ganesh controlled proceedings from midfield. As the game crossed the 20-minute mark, Chennaiyin started imposing bundles of pressure on the Goa defence. They would create three consecutive chances in a space of three minutes but could not make any of them count. The first would fall to Augusto, who’s effort from Thapa’s cutback was brilliantly blocked by Mourtada Fall, denying an almost certain goal.

From the resulting corner, defender Eli Sabia had a chance to break the deadlock but his fierce near-post shot was well saved by Mohammad Nawaz in goal. The young goalkeeper was given no respite as he had to prove his fine shot-stopping abilities when Ganesh’s header seemed destined for the far post. Given the constant onslaught of pressure, fans in the stadium were left bemused that Chennaiyin had not put themselves in the lead yet.

Slowly but steadily, Goa started gaining a foothold in the game and could have scored themselves if not for some questionable finishing from Jackichand Singh. The winger only managed to sky his effort after some clever work from Hugo Boumous down the wing. In the end, both sides went into the break without finding the back of the net.

However, that would change from the outset of the second half, as Goa drew first blood through their mercurial forward Corominas. After Thapa cheaply gave the ball away near the halfway line, Boumous drove towards Chenaiyin’s goal, before forcing Karanjit to make a save. However, the rebound fell perfectly to the Spaniard, who had the simple task of tapping the ball home.

Just as it seemed that Goa would run away with the tie, Chennaiyin were back level. Raphael Augusto pounced on a loose ball just outside the box, firing a shot which took a massive deflection to deceive Nawaz.

However, the Gaurs didn’t let the goal deter them as they would soon find themselves back in the lead. Corominas was once again at the heart of the action as he picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and released Brandon with a perfectly weighted through-ball. The small-statured winger was quick on his feet as he beat Mailson Alves and Karanjit to slide the ball home – a truly remarkable goal.

As the match reached its final quarter, Goa could have sealed the tie when Boumous once again let Jackichand through. The winger had only Karanjit to beat but could not make the most of it. The rebound fell to Corominas, who was brought down inside the box. However, the referee waved away Goa’s claims of a penalty, instead pointing towards a goal-kick for Chennaiyin. Nevertheless, that would prove to be inconsequential as Goa held on till the final whistle to claim their first-ever Hero Super Cup trophy.

At the post-match press conference, the FC Goa head coach, Sergio Lobera was accompanied by striker Ferran Corominas. The boss went first and explained how his team deserved to win the title after such a successful season. “We could have won two trophies this season. But we won the admiration of all the people in India and that is really big. I think we were tactically better. We could and should have scored the third goal. Not doing that made it a little tough for us in the end,” he said.

“This is all because of our players. They have been great. If you look back, the history suggests we deserved a trophy for a long time now. I think we have got the acclaim from all people. We will now look to build on that. We will look to strengthen last season and look to do what is left next season,” he added.

The ecstatic Corominas echoed his manager’s claims and said, “I’m feeling really emotional right now. Behind this day is lots of hard work from all at the club and our families. I am feeling like I am about to cry. Playing with quality players like Edu (Bedia) makes my job easier. But at the end of the day as coach said, it is the team as a whole whose performance needs to be lauded.”

From Chennaiyin’s end, head coach, John Gregory expressed his thoughts on the match. He said, “My team gave everything. We are disappointed that we didn’t manage to win the game. I thought the first half, we played well and had good opportunities to score. But we didn’t take them. It is our fourth game in 10 days. I think it was pretty evident in the last 15 minutes or so that we had some really tired bodies on the field.”

“Congratulations to Goa. They are a team that just missed out on the Hero ISL, but they managed to get themselves a trophy. Sergio is not only a good coach but he also a good human being as well. We offer our congratulations to him, his staff and his players,” he added.

Super Cup 2019: Clinical Chennaiyin outplay ATK to book final encounter against Goa

Bhubaneswar: Chennaiyin FC beat arch-rivals ATK 2-0 in the second Hero Super Cup 2019 semi-final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday to progress to the final of the knockout tournament. John Gregory’s men will face FC Goa for the title on April 13.

ATK head coach Steve Coppell opted to bring back Edu Garcia into the starting line-up in place of Everton Santos, who started in the last match against Delhi Dynamos FC. Eugeneson Lyngdoh also came in for the suspended Pronay Halder. John Gregory, on the other hand, sprung a big surprise dropping star striker Jeje Lalpekhlua to the bench and reinforcing the midfield with Christopher Herd.

Despite the seemingly more defensive line-up, Chennaiyin showed more adventure early on and CK Vineeth was only inches wide from giving his team the lead on the seventh minute after Raphael Augusto fizzed in a delightful low cross from the left. ATK tried hard to carve out some opportunities of their own but were largely restricted to hopeful shots from distance in the opening phases.

After being dominated for the first 20 minutes, ATK slowly began getting a foothold on the match after they started pressing the Chennaiyin midfielders a little more to deny them too much space or time. Both sides kept creating half-chances but lacked the precision in the final third to score the all-important first goal of the tie. The first half ended with a 0-0 scoreline.

The second half began on a similar note to the first, with Chennaiyin asserting their dominance on the contest right from the start. This time, however, the sustained pressure bore fruit five minutes in. Anirudh Thapa twisted and turned down the left flank and hung up a teasing cross inside the ATK box for CK Vineeth to head in.

The goal opened up the game with ATK throwing more men forward, probing for the equaliser. But the ploy ended up favouring Chennaiyin, who went on to double their advantage on the 58th minute. Gregory Nelson found himself with the ball near the ATK box after a well-executed counter attack and found Thapa in shooting position with a neat pass. The youngster made no mistakes and slotted in past Debjit with his left foot.

Going two goals behind immediately forced Coppell into making two quick changes. Everton Santos and Ankit Mukherjee were thrown into the mix in place of Edu Garcia and Pritam Kotal respectively. With 70 minutes on the clock, Coppell played his final hand, bringing on Hitesh Sharma for Jayesh Rane.

The personnel changes, coupled with Chennaiyin’s willingness to sit deep and defend their two-goal cushion, allowed ATK a little more of the ball. Karanjit Singh, who had next to nothing to do on the night, was probably worried for the first time on the 74th minute via a Lanzarote free-kick. But the custodian showed enough awareness to tip the Spaniard’s curling effort over the bar. The 33-year-old was called into action again a few minutes later to keep out Lyngdoh’s dipping shot from distance.

With time running out, ATK went all in a last-ditch attempt to claw their way back into the contest, but were thwarted time and again by the Chennaiyin backline, marshalled brilliantly by Mailson Alves and Eli Sabia. The tie ended 2-0 in Chennaiyin’s favour.

At the post-match press conference, a delighted Chennaiyin head coach, John Gregory, was accompanied by Hero of the Match, Anirudh Thapa. Speaking about the win and the performance, the Englishman said, “I feel this was our most complete performance this season. It was very pleasing on the eye and we were really tough to play against, like the Chennaiyin from last season. We had the right kind of balance today. We dominated from start to finish. It is a huge opportunity now for us to end the season with a trophy.”

Gregory, however, also warned that the work was far from over. “It helps a bit psychologically to have improved after such a poor Hero ISL season. We have done well and reached the final but we haven’t achieved anything yet. We still don’t have a trophy to show for it yet.”

Commenting on the prospect of facing FC Goa in the final, the Englishman opined, “FC Goa are having a great season and are one of the most consistent sides in the country right now. We look forward to meeting them in the final.”

Thapa, on his part, felt satisfied to have finally given the fans something to cheer about after a poor Hero ISL 2018-19 campaign, in which Chennaiyin finished bottom of the table. He said, “We implemented our training well. That’s what I have tried to do that. After the Hero ISL season we had, we owed it to the fans to do well in the Super Cup. We are very happy to be in the final. This is for the fans.”

From the ATK camp, head coach Steve Coppell expressed his disappointment with the result and said, “I knew it would be a really close game. They had a little bit more size in midfield than we anticipated. I thought they would either play (Dhanpal) Ganesh or (Christopher) Herd. When I saw them start with both, I knew that it would make it a little bit more difficult for Manuel Lanzarote and Edu Garcia. And that proved to be the case. We didn’t get a flow in our play.”

“At half time, we thought that the game might go right to the end and possibly to extra time. But the first goal we conceded after five minutes of the second half, it was a comedy of errors. We were in control of the situation, we lost it, the cross comes in and we conceded. I always thought that the first goal would be crucial and that proved to be the case. I feel sad that the season is over,” he added.

Super Cup 2019: Ruthless Goa deny Chennai City another fairytale finish and cruise into the final

Bhubaneswar: Goa put on a flawless display to beat Hero I-League 2018-19 champions Chennai City FC 3-0 in the first semi-final of the Hero Super Cup 2019 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. The result sends the Gaurs through to the final of the knockout tournament, where they will face the winner of Wednesday’s match between ATK and Chennaiyin FC.

The loss also brought an end to Chennai City’s brilliant run in the tournament, which saw them knock out FC Pune City and Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 champions Bengaluru FC.

With Edu Bedia out with a suspension, Hugo Boumous was drafted into the FC Goa starting XI by head coach Sergio Lobera. Chennai City boss Akbar Nawas, on the other hand, made two changes to the team which started the quarter-final tie against Bengaluru FC. Charles Lourdusamy came in for the suspended Michael Regin in midfield, while Alexander Romario Jesuraj was handed a start in place of Ameerudeen Haja.

Goa asked early questions of the Chennai defence, with Jackichand Singh finding space down the right wing and making a nuisance of himself with his quick feet and unpredictable runs inside the box.

The Gaurs came out with a positive mindset and their quick silky passing pegged Chennai back, barely giving the Hero I-League 2018-19 champions a sniff of the ball. Seriton Fernandes and Zaid Krouch came close to scoring in the first 15 minutes. The former’s shot at goal was deflected wide while Krouch’s deflected shot from range needed a fingertip save from Chennai custodian Mauro Boerchio to stay out.

Goa kept on turning the screws and their dominance finally paid off on the 25th minute as Jacki found Ferran Corominas in the box. With the Spaniard’s back turned towards the goal, it seemed the Chennai backline had enough time to position themselves to cut off the angles. However, Charles skipped the gun and clattered into Coro, leaving the referee with no choice but to point towards the spot. Boerchio denied Sunil Chhetri from the penalty spot in their last match, but no one seemed to have told Coro that, who calmly executed an audacious Panenka to beat the Italian.

Chennai City tried to up the ante to find a quick equaliser, but it was Goa who found the second goal. The Jacki-Coro partnership was at the centre of the move yet again. The Indian winger whipped in a cross from the right, which took a deflection off Sriram B. The ball kindly fell for Coro, who did extremely well to make the space for a shot and beat Boerchio again with a low angled shot.

The first half ended with the Gaurs holding a well-deserved two-goal advantage.

Chennai City began the second half on the front foot and threw numbers forward in search of a way back into the game. However, the Gaurs backline held strong to deny the Hero I-league side any room in the attacking third. Chennai’s attacking approach also opened up the game, leaving plenty of space at the back for Goa to exploit on the counter. One of these almost ended in Goa and Coro’s third goal of the night. Jacki bombed down the right flank before playing in a searching ball for Coro on the box. The Spaniard even managed to reach the ball on full stretch but couldn’t keep his effort on target.

Both teams continued creating half-chances as the game progressed past the hour-mark. Chennai were in desperate need for a goal and almost found one through Romario Jesus on the 66th minute. The nippy winger skipped past multiple challenges and pulled the trigger from 30-yards-out. Unfortunately for Chennai, the ball came off the crossbar.

Three minutes later, things got worse for Nawas and Co. Boumous received the ball in the midfield and set Brandon Fernandes free. The winger put on his afterburners, ran onto the through pass and calmly slotted it past Boerchio to make it 3-0 for Goa.

As expected from a team trailing by three-goals in a knockout tie, Chennai tried to throw the kitchen sink at Goa for the final 20 minutes plus added time, but did very little to worry the Goa defence. In fact, the gaping gaps in the Chennai defence allowed the Gaurs to break forward almost at will. Sergio Lobera’s men created ample opportunities to make the scoreline far more imposing, but a bit of bad luck, some last-ditch defending and a few terrific saves from Boerchio helped Chennai avoid any further blushes. The match ended 3-0 in Goa’s favour.

At the post-match press conference, Goa’s assistant coach Jesus Tato along with goal scorer Corominas were present to share their thoughts on the match. Talking about the performance of the players, Tato said, “Before the game, we knew Chennai City are a team with a lot of potential. We outplayed them easily as the score can tell. But at the end of the day, it was the players who displayed it on the pitch. We really worked hard towards this game. I must give all the credit to the players.”

Coro, who scored a brace on the night, got plenty of opportunities to score a hat-trick but missed out eventually. Asked if he was disappointed with not scoring a third, the Spaniard said, “As a striker, you always want to score goals. Today I would have liked to score a hat-trick, but regardless of who scores, the most important thing is that the team wins. I will always do my best for the team.”

From Chennai City’s end, Akbar Nawas had no qualms admitting that they were the second-best team on the night. “I think the right word is overhauled. We gave them too much respect from the first half. We were too deep. This has got a lot to do with maturity and experience. FC Goa gave us a good footballing experience and we should really strive now to play the way they are playing,” he stated.

Super Cup 2019: Chennaiyin confirm semi-final spot with hard-fought win over NorthEast

Bhubaneswar: Chennaiyin FC came back from a goal down to beat NorthEast United FC 2-1 in the fourth Hero Super Cup 2019 quarter-final played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. The victory sets up Chennaiyin for a semi-final clash against rivals ATK on April 10.

NorthEast had the better of the early exchanges and Lalthathanga Khawlhring tested Karanjit Singh early on with a shot from outside the box, forcing the Chennaiyin goalkeeper to make a good save and clear the danger in exchange for a corner. The Highlanders, however, made full use of the set-piece and replicated a routine from the training pitch to perfection. The corner was played short for Khawlhring, who found Panagiotis Triadis inside the Chennaiyin box with an inch-perfect pass. The winger cut the ball back for a host of NorthEast players arriving inside the six-yard box. Rowllin Borges made sure he tapped the ball in. With nine minutes on the clock, NorthEast were 1-0 up.

Despite going a goal down, Chennaiyin’s build-up lacked any conviction in the first 30 minutes and Jeje Lalpekhlua cut an isolated figure in the attacking third. After the opening goal, chances were few and far between for both sides.

The next big goal threat came on the 33rd minute, and it resulted in Chennaiyin’s equaliser. Anirudh Thapa received the ball after another short corner and put in a teasing ball inside the Highlanders’ box. Mailson Alves outjumped everyone and planted a powerful header past a helpless Gurmeet in the NorthEast goal.

The goal spurred Chennaiyin on, as the two-time Hero ISL champions took over the reins of the match. Thapa was Chennaiyin’s standout player on the pitch by far and was running the show from the middle of the park. Seven minutes after providing the assist for Alves, the India international was at the thick of things yet again. The 21-year-old nicked the ball off Khawlhring in the opposition half, raced into the box and fired a low shot across Gurmeet to give Chennaiyin the advantage.

The Highlanders could have drawn level seconds before the half time whistle when Eli Sabia’s scuffed clearance fell kindly for Khawlhring. The youngster should have hit the target from eight yards out but rushed his effort and sent it wide. The referee signalled for the break with Chennaiyin 2-1 up.

NorthEast head coach Eelco Schattorie made two changes at half-time, bringing on Girik Khosla and Keegan Pereira for Triadis and Mato Grgic respectively. Shortly after the restart, Jeje took a crack from distance but Gurmeet was vigilant enough to ensure the scoreline didn’t change.

After a somewhat scrappy first 15 minutes of the second half, NorthEast came close to finding an equaliser yet again. Khosla bombed down the right, got past Tondonba Singh and found Juan Mascia inside the box. The striker beat Karanjit with a powerful drive, only to rattle the crossbar. Mascia hit the woodwork once more with a diving header on the 77th minute and it certainly looked that it won’t be NorthEast’s day.

In an attempt to find the all-important goal, Schattorie threw Bartholomew Ogbeche into the mix. The Nigerian, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury, started the match from the bench. But with time running out, Schattorie had to turn to his star striker despite his lack of fitness.

Ogbeche’s introduction immediately livened up the Highlanders’ offence and the team looked much more threatening going forward. The Chennaiyin defence, however, held on to secure the win.

At the post-match briefing, a delighted Chennaiyin head coach John Gregory heaped praise on his young star and Hero of the Match, Anirudh Thapa. He said, “He did okay. He assisted for the first goal and scored the second one. We have tried to look after him as best as we can. He’s our player. I’m a little bit cautious. I want to look after him. He’s played a lot of games. We’re just trying to manage him in the right way which sometimes means not starting him, sometimes not putting him on the bench. To his credit, he’s a better player now than a year ago.”

Despite being consistently targeted by the Highlanders players, the silky midfielder held his own and went about his job in brilliant fashion. Revealing how he manages himself in such situations, Thapa said, “I need to be calm because I can’t get cards at that moment. My teammates, they support me. They keep me calm because they know that I don’t play rough. So, I need to be more motivated. I shouldn’t lose my composure. Midfield is more about the physicality but I have the technique. That’s my strength.”

From NorthEast’s end, head coach Eelco Schattorie shared his thoughts on the match and claimed he was satisfied with the result considering the injury-crisis plaguing his team. He said, “We started the first half really well. We scored a good goal from a corner. But the biggest problem that I expected was that we didn’t play for four weeks. All my training sessions were with 14-15 players. So, we lost some rhythm. My centre-back Mato Grgic had to come off in the first half. Second half we played really well. We had enough chances. We did well.”

Super Cup 2019: Goa set semi-final date with Chennai City after dramatic win over Jamshedpur

Bhubaneswar: Goa survived a late scare to beat Jamshedpur FC 4-3 in the third Hero Super Cup 2019 quarter-final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. The Gaurs seemed to be cruising to a convincing win after being 4-1 up until the 73rd minute, but two late goals from Jamshedpur set up a thrilling finish to the match. Edu Bedia was sent off with a double booking, leaving Goa to fend off Jamshedpur with 10-men for the final eight minutes plus added time.

The result sets up a mouth-watering semi-final clash between Goa and Hero I-League 2018-19 champions Chennai City FC, who stunned Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 winners Bengaluru FC in their quarter-final clash on Thursday.

The match got off to a lively start with both teams exhibiting some attacking intent early on, carving out a few half-chances but nothing substantial enough to seriously worry either goalkeeper. Brandon Fernandes got a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on the 13th minute when he raced into the box to get on the end of a wayward clearance by Tiri. Karan Amin and Pratik Chowdhary, however, made sure they kept the Goa winger under enough pressure, forcing him to drag his effort wide.

Four minutes later, Jamshedpur came close as Tiri managed to get on the end of a Carlos Calvo corner. The Jamshedpur skipper tried to redirect the ball into ne net with the side of his foot but couldn’t hit the target.

As the contest progressed, both teams toiled hard to deny their opposite numbers any time and space in the middle of the park. It was turning out to be an intriguing battle between two star-studded midfields for the control of the tie.

The opening goal finally came on the 22nd minute. Jamshedpur conceded a soft free-kick down the left and Brandon made sure he put the ball into the danger zone. Edu Bedia ghosted in between two Jamshedpur defenders at the near post and buried his flicked header into the goal past a helpless Rafique Ali.

Jamshedpur could have drawn level just five minutes later when Jerry Mawhmingthanga made good use of his pace and found himself face to face with Goa custodian Mohammad Nawaz. The Jamshedpur man tried to curl one across Nawaz, but the young custodian showed impeccable anticipation to rescue his team.

The Gaurs almost doubled their advantage just before the 40-minute mark. Zaid Krouch meandered through the Jamshedpur defence and took on his shot from inside the box. Ali got the slightest of touches to the Moroccan’s powerful drive to make sure the ball hit the crossbar and not the back of the net.

Goa, however, did find the second goal in the dying seconds of the first half. The Gaurs won another free-kick from a similar position to the one which resulted in the first goal. Brandon took over the dead ball duty yet again and fizzed in another dangerous ball into the Jamshedpur box. The effort took a touch off Pablo Morgado and ended up inside the goal. The first half ended with the Gaurs 2-0 up.

Goa could have pulled away even further shortly after the restart. Krouch found space inside the Jamshedpur box and cut the ball back for an onrushing Jackichand Singh. The winger just needed to tap the ball inside an unguarded goal, but somehow found the wrong side of the post.

The Miners tried to increase the tempo and pressed high in an attempt to get back into the match but were met with stern resistance from a well-drilled Goa defence. On the other end of the pitch, Goa’s abundance of attacking talent made sure they constantly kept the Jamshedpur defence busy. Ferran Corominas came close at the hour mark, after a brilliant through ball from Bedia played him through, but Ali came out just in time to deny the Hero ISL 2018-19 Golden Boot winner.

Goa’s third of the night looked likely and finally materialized on the 64th minute. Krouch raced forward after a quick counter attack and slid the ball in for Seriton Fernandes, who had his afterburners on in an effort to get into the box. The Goa full back took the ball in his stride and fired Goa to a 3-0 lead.

With the match seemingly slipping away, a rare mistake by Mourtada Fall gave Jamshedpur the faintest of hopes. Calvo took advantage of the Senegalese defender’s indecisiveness to clear the ball and picked out an unmarked Morgado inside the box, who scored to make it 3-1.

Goa, however, reclaimed their three-goal advantage just minutes later. Bedia’s shot from range hit Pratik’s hand inside the Jamshedpur box, prompting the referee to point towards the penalty box. Corominas promptly dispatched the spot kick after sending Ali the wrong way.

With the score reading 4-1 with just 17 minutes to go, many would have considered the match done and dusted. But the Miners weren’t done just yet. Calvo found Sergio Cidoncha inside the Goa box with a lovely cross from the left and the Spaniard headed home from close range on the 77th minute to make it 4-2.

Five minutes later, Jamshedpur were awarded a penalty of their own after Bedia brought down Morgado inside the Goa box. The rash challenge earned the Goa captain his second booking of the night and his marching orders. The resultant spot kick was converted by Calvo to set up an intriguing finish to the dramatic tie.

With a man down, the Gaurs sat deep and weathered a barrage of Jamshedpur attacks to ensure the victory and the progression to the Hero Super Cup 2019 semi-finals.

At the post-match press conference, a relieved FC Goa head coach Sergio Lobera analyzed the performance and said, “I’m very happy with the performance of the team. The score was 4-1. At that time, we could have managed the game much better. I think our assistant coach is doing a great job. We have improved a lot in offensive and defensive set-pieces. I’m very happy with this improvement.”

The Spaniard also expressed his delight at the way the young Indian players have progressed. Lobera, particularly, namedropped Brandon, who was directly involved with Goa’s first two goals of the match, and stated, “I believe that the players have been growing with the team. I think Brandon is a great player. He is improving day by day. I think he should be selected in the national team. He helps us a lot with his qualities.”

“I think for us the performance of the Indian players is key. I’m delighted with the work they have doing this season. I think the Indian players are talented. Not only our players but all Indian players in general. With help, they can come out as good and talented players,” he added.

From the Jamshedpur camp, assistant coach Guillermo attended the briefing. Asked if the players could be held responsible for the first two FC Goa goals, which came from dead ball situations, he said, “In this game, we lost two goals from set-pieces. I think we missed the plot a little bit there. Otherwise, the team was quite good. We came back from 4-1 against us. At the end of the day, we are very proud of the work of the team. It was a very good effort from them.”

“I think both goals were different. For the first goal, the free-kick was quite good for them and was difficult to defend. The second goal was an easy one to clear, but we couldn’t do it. Mistakes happen in a game. We cannot control it sometimes. The team effort was good,” he further opined.

Super Cup 2019: ATK edge out Delhi in seven-goal thriller to book semi-final spot

Bhubaneswar: ATK held on by the skin of their teeth to overcome Delhi Dynamos FC 4-3 in a thrilling Hero Super Cup 2019 quarter-final tie at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday. Both teams created plenty of chances but ATK finally came out on top, courtesy of a scintillating hat-trick by striker Balwant Singh.

With the victory, ATK move on to the final four of the competition and will take on the winner of the NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC match on Sunday in the semi-finals.Mohammed Sajid Dhot gave Delhi the lead on the 15th minute, but Balwant Singh restored parity eight minutes later.

Delhi clawed their way back into the match with a deflected strike from Nandhakumar Sekar on the 72nd minute but couldn’t find their all-important fourth goal to enforce Extra Time.

ATK head coach Steve Coppell sprung a surprise in his team selection, opting to hand Everton Santos a start in place of Edu Garcia. Delhi boss Josep Gombau, on the other hand, fielded a strong starting XI featuring the likes of Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nandhakumar Sekar, Gianni Zuiverloon, Marti Crespi, Marcos Tebar and Ulises Davila.

Delhi had the first big chance of the match within four minutes as Narayan Das found Nandhakumar unmarked inside the ATK box. The winger tried a first-time volley but couldn’t quite get the connection he was looking for.

ATK responded with a big opportunity of their own just a couple of minutes later as former Delhi skipper Pritam Kotal steamed down the right flank and picked out Manuel Lanzarote with a brilliant cross. The Spaniard managed to beat Delhi custodian Albino Gomes with a flicked header but the effort was inches wide of the goal.

The chances set the trend for the match, with both teams creating ample opportunities to score in what was turning out to be an end-to-end affair. The first goal finally came on the 15th minute through a set-piece. Delhi won a free-kick on the left-hand side of the ATK box and Adria Carmona delivered a pinpoint ball for Mohammed Sajid Dhot to head in at the far post.

The Lions could have doubled the lead seconds later when Daniel Lalhlimpuia held off Andre Bikey and took a crack at goal. The shot was on target and it took a good save from Debjit Majumdar to keep the scoreline unaltered.

ATK toiled hard for a quick equaliser and were rewarded on the 23rd minute. Pronay Halder won the ball in midfield and squared it to Lanzarote. The ATK skipper looked up and threaded in a lovely through ball for Balwant Singh. The striker timed his run well to beat Delhi’s offside trap and slotted the ball past an indecisive Gomes to draw ATK level.

Five minutes later, the Kolkata-based side struck again and took the lead. After playing a precise one-two with Jayesh Rane, Lanzarote found himself with space inside the Delhi box. The Spaniard took a couple of touches to set himself up and side-footed in from a tight angle to make it 2-1 in ATK’s favour. On the 34th minute, Balwant scored his second of the night with a bullet of a shot to extend ATK’s lead. Jayesh was the provider yet again.

It seemed that ATK might be running away with the match, but Daniel had other ideas. The nippy striker showed good reflexes to get on the end of a deflected Chhangte cross and pulled a goal back for the Lions. The referee brought an end to the action-packed first half with ATK holding a one-goal advantage.

Delhi tried to force the initiative in the second-half and kept the majority of the possession, but it was ATK who dealt the first blow. Six minutes after the restart, Lanzarote set Jayesh free down the right with a lovely long pass. The ATK man carried the ball forward and crossed the ball in for Balwant inside the six-yard box. The 32-year-old slid in to complete his hat-trick.

With their two-goal cushion restored, ATK started exerting their influence on the match and controlled the tempo of the contest. But the match was far from over. The Lions clawed their way back into the game just after the 70-minute mark. Nandhakumar glided inwards from the left flank and took a shot at goal from outside the 18-yard box. It seemed that Debjit had his angles covered but the ball took a wicked deflection off Bikey to bamboozle the ATK custodian.

The goal set up an entertaining finish to the match, with Delhi turning the screws in search of the leveller. The ATK defence aided by Debjit, however, put up a resilient front to secure the victory.

Super Cup 2019: Chennai City oust defending champions Bengaluru

Bhubaneswar: Bengaluru FC’s Super Cup defence ended with a 2-1 quarterfinal defeat to Chennai City FC at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, on Thursday. Goals from Nestor Gordillo (15’) and Pedro Manzi (54’) put Chennai ahead before Sunil Chhetri – who had missed a penalty when the Blues were a goal down – nodded home from a corner (65’) to give Carles Cuadrat’s men a chance to claw back into the game.

Dominant in attack for better parts of the game, Bengaluru ran into an inspired show from ’keeper Mauro Boerchio who did more than just well to keep the ball out from hitting the back of his net on several occasions.

Chennai, resorting to play the ball long, used the route to grab the opener in the 15th minute, but it was more to do with an error in the Bengaluru defence that let Gordillo score. A breakdown in communication between Harmanjot Khabra and Rahul Bheke in attempting to deal with a long punt, saw Gordillo capitalise and score past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

The Blues had chances in quick succession and then through the rest of the half, but much to Carles Cuadrat’s frustration, they didn’t manage to put anything away. Xisco Hernandez, Miku and Sunil Chhetri – all saw attempts on goal kept out by Mauro Boerchio in Chennai’s goal.

Udanta Singh, on the right, was making life for the Chennai defenders rather uncomfortable, beating them with both pace and skill. However, the winger could only watch in agony as there was no blue shirt at the end of a couple of very dangerous crosses that simply needed tapping home from close.

Chhetri had the chance to pull Bengaluru level in the 51st minute when he had his shirt tugged in the Chennai box by Romario, prompting the referee to point to the spot. But Boerchio guessed the skipper’s take from the spot correctly to keep it out. The miss would soon come to haunt Bengaluru who minutes later, went behind for a second time. Bringing down a long drive from Sandro, Manzi cut on to his right before curling the ball past Gurpreet to make it 2-0.

With an already-booked Harmanjot Khabra standing the risk of getting sent off along with the need to attack, Cuadrat rang in a double change, bringing on Boithang Haokip and Albert Serran for the Bengaluru defender and Xisco.

The Bengaluru skipper soon made amends for his miss, calmly rising to direct a header home from a corner in the 65th minute and give the Blues a way back into the game. The Blues could have had an equaliser minutes later when Chhetri picked Dimas Delgado with a pass only for the ’keeper to tip over the Spaniard’s goal-bound header.

It seemed to be Boerchio’s night when he managed to get to a shot from Chhetri that looked almost certain to roll in, in the 87th minute, as Chennai saw out the game.

Super Cup 2019: Champions Of Indian Super League And I-League Square Off In A Mouth-Watering Quarterfinal

Bhubaneswar: Defending champions Bengaluru FC will have their task cut out when they take on neighbours Chennai City FC in a much-anticipated quarterfinal clash of the Hero Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. With either side basking in triumphs of the competitions they take part in, the game will pit the champions of I-League and the Indian Super League against each other for the first time ever in a competitive clash.

“It will be a nice game, with winners of the two different competitions of the country going up against each other and I’m sure it will be a good show for the supporters. We are aware of the qualities that Chennai City have, because we played them in the pre-season. In fact, they are the only Indian team to have beaten us there this season. We know that they are dangerous and can create a lot of problems for us,” said Head Coach Carles Cuadrat ahead of the tie.   

Both teams go into the game on the back of different circumstances. While the Blues received a bye in their Round of 16 clash against Mohun Bagan, Chennai City carry the advantage of having played a competitive game in the Kalinga Stadium.

“We’re all eager to play football. We, as coaches and players, would always want to play matches. It would be special to win two trophies in a season and we want to be competitive and try to do our best to reach the final and hopefully it can happen. It’s a tough competition because to win it, you have to win all the games. One bad day, and you are out of the competition. It’s like having to play three finals, but we are ready for the fight,” expressed Cuadrat.

Akbar Nawaz’s side secured their quarterfinal berth after a thrilling 4-2 win over FC Pune City, and despite playing most of the second half with ten men, they managed to outsmart Phil Brown’s side to claim a late win thanks to Pedro Manzi’s hat-trick.

The Spaniard will be the Blues biggest threat, and was I-League’s top-scorer with 21 goals from 18 games, at more than one goal per game. In fact, his hat-trick against Pune in the Round of 16 clash was his fifth of the season, having bagged four trebles in the I-League. “I’m quite aware of the qualities the foreigners bring to the Chennai side, especially Manzi. He is quite similar to Miku and both of them bring a lot more than just goals to their sides. Their movement in and around the box also helps teammates in creating more scoring opportunities. It will be an interesting battle for both sides, in offense and defence as well.”

While the Blues might not have played a game in Bhubaneswar this season, they do carry forward an impressive record. Bengaluru hasn’t lost a game in the city and in fact, have a perfect record at the Kalinga Stadium, winning five out of five games at the venue, the most by any team. Chennai City meanwhile hasn’t lost to many teams as well, and if the Blues manage to get a win, they will become only the third side to do that this season. “We know that Chennai have lost three times, and they have only lost against two teams in the I-League. Real Kashmir and Churchill Brothers are the only teams to have managed to beat them. It’s a very good statistic for them, and shows how tough a side they are. We will have to try and be the third team to beat them,” added Cuadrat.

On the team news front, Bengaluru will be missing the services of defender Rino Anto who has picked up an injury and has not made the trip. Meanwhile, Charles Lourdusamy will miss out for the Coimbatore-based side after being sent off in the clash against Pune.

The game kicks off at 8.30 pm on Thursday and will be live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.

Super Cup 2019: ATK overcome resilient Real Kashmir to book quarter-final spot

Bhubaneswar: It took ATK two late goals to beat a resilient Real Kashmir FC side 3-1 in the Hero Super Cup 2019 pre-quarterfinals played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Monday. The victory sets up ATK for a quarter-final clash against fellow Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) side Delhi Dynamos FC on April 5.

ATK started the match with a lot of purpose and almost unlocked the Real Kashmir defence with barely two minutes on the clock. Manuel Lanzarote played in Edu Garcia with a lovely waited through ball, but the Spaniard’s final effort sailed over the bar.

The ATK midfield seemed to be dominating the proceedings early on, but Real Kashmir made sure they gave the Kolkata-based side a stern reminder of the danger they pose on the eighth minute. Completely against the flow of the match, Mason Robertson showed his own passing prowess, setting up Koffi Tetteh with room to run in behind the advanced ATK defence. With just Debjit Majumdar in the ATK goal to beat, the striker scuffed his shot wide.

The chance, however, acted as a confidence booster of the Hero I-League side as they started being a lot more adventurous from then on. Robertson was the central figure for the Snow Leopards, strutting forward at will and even drew a decent save from Debjit.

However, it was ATK who would go on to break the deadlock on the 26th minute. Edu found Lanzarote down the right wing and the ATK captain played in a hopeful ball inside the Real Kashmir box on the half turn. Real Kashmir defender Aaron Katebe was caught ball watching at the far post, as Balwant Singh outjumped him to bury his header inside the goal past a helpless Bilal Husain Khan.

It took Real Kashmir just five minutes to hit back. Abhash Thapa carried the ball forward with intent and fed Robertson on the edge of the ATK box. The Scotsman took a touch to set himself up and fired in a precise low shot from range to beat Debjit at full stretch.

Both sides traded a few half chances for till the half-time whistle, with ATK getting the better opportunities. But there was nothing to separate the two sides going into the break. The scoreboard read 1-1, with everything to play for in the second 45 minutes.

The second-half was a cagey affair with both teams trying their best to seize the initiative but failed to create any big chances in a match primarily dominated by two very well-drilled defences. Most of ATK’s goal threats came through set pieces, while Real Kashmir looked to break forward and hit their opponents on the counter.

As the match wore on, both head coaches started looking at their bench for inspiration and Real Kashmir gaffer David Robertson was the first to blink, bringing on creative playmaker Surchandra Singh in place of Ritwik Kumar Das.

Steve Coppell’s spark of inspiration was, however, already on the field for ATK. It was none other than Lanzarote, who, time and again, has delivered for his team when they needed him the most. A corner kick routine straight off the training ground saw Edu pick out Lanzarote on the edge of the box. The Spaniard hit it first-time and placed the ball perfectly past Bilal to make it 2-1 on the 79th minute.

The goal prompted a change from ATK, with Everton Santos coming on for the provider of the second goal, Edu. The Brazilian substitute took just seconds to register his name on the scoresheet. Taking advantage of a mistimed header by Katebe, Santos controlled the ball just outside the 16-yard box and beat Bilal with a low shot to make it 3-1 in favour of the Hero ISL side.

Real Kashmir threw everything at the opposition in an effort to find a way back into the match, but a disciplined display in the final minutes by ATK was enough to see off the Snow Leopards’ cavalry charge.

After the match, both head coaches spoke at the post-match briefing and shared their views. ATK boss Steve Coppell revealed his strategy going into the fixture. “We were trying to retain possession as much as possible, and then get into positions from where we could hurt them. The goals we scored, all three goals, the second in particular, was tremendous. We’ve been trying to experiment a little bit on corners. Real Kashmir are a big team, so it’s not a great idea to put the balls inside the box all the time. The second goal was critical for us but the entire performance was all based on trying to control possession as much as possible. That was our strategy,” he said.

The Englishman also commented on Everton Santos’ goal which sealed off the result. “It was coincidence more than anything else that the ball ends up at his feet in a good position. He would be the first to say that it was just a happy coincidence. He’s a good player. You give good players those kind-of opportunities, they are going to score. It was a great strike. It made all three goals very special for us,” Coppell opined.

Real Kashmir head coach David Robertson, on the other hand, declared that he was proud of his team’s performance despite the loss. “I think we competed well. I think in the first half we did well against them. We play a certain style of football based on the players we have. We haven’t played for a number of weeks. It’s been very difficult for the players. Its been a bit up and down. Tonight, maybe it was one step too far for us. It was a great experience. ATK are a fantastic team. We’ve got to remember who we played against tonight. One of the big teams in Indian football,” he said.