Bengaluru FC gear up for Sub-Junior League final against RFYC

Goa: Bengaluru FC’s Sub-Junior side will have a shot at making history when they take on Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) in the grand finale of the Hero Sub-Junior League at the Don Bosco Ground in Goa on Wednesday. The Young Blues can become the first-ever BFC Academy side to clinch an AIFF Youth League title after an enthralling campaign which has already seen them create history by reaching the final.

The task won’t be an easy one for Rajan Mani’s all-Bengaluru side who will come up against an equally formidable opponent from Navi Mumbai, who boast of players from all over the country. But they can take motivation from a thrilling come-from-behind 2-1 win over a strong Sudeva FC side in the semifinal on Monday.

Speaking on the eve of the big clash, Coach Rajan praised the effort put in by the team so far in the competition. “We have worked very hard as a team to reach at this stage of the competition. We came up against some quality teams and the boys have always given their one hundred percent in every game. In the final however, we will need to give even more because it won’t be an easy tie. We have worked on our game plan and the boys have managed to implement our philosophy and it’s something to be proud of,” said Rajan.

Going into the game, RFYC are currently the top scoring side in the competition with 62 goals, and the Young Blues follow in on third with 47 goals. While the attackers have been scoring freely for either side, they also have been formidable at the back boasting one of the most stubborn defences in the league. RFYC have conceded eight goals keeping six clean sheets, while the Blues have just let in five, keeping seven clean sheets of their own.

Rajan expects a close game and while assessing the opponents, he further added, “We have faced RFYC twice before this season, in friendlies at Coimbatore and Navi Mumbai. While we have beaten them before, we can’t underestimate them or take the game lightly. They are quite an organised team when it comes to their game play and will pose a lot of threat if we are not alert. It’s important for us to stick to our game plan and be prepared for a close affair.”

The game kicks off at the Don Bosco Ground in Goa at 4.30 pm tomorrow.

Southern Samity reportedly signed Liberian captain

KOLKATA: Calcutta Football League side Southern Samity have reportedly signed Liberia national team captain Teah Dennis for the 2019/20 Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’.

IndiaFooty sources have revealed that the player’s deal to join Southern Samity is as good as done, although it is yet to be confirmed by the club.

The central defender will be club’s second foreign signing for the forthcoming campaign after securing the services of Cameroonian front-man Aser Dipanda Dicka last week, as Southern Samity looks to put together a team that is capable of challenging for Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ title.

The 26-year-old began his playing career with LPRC Oilers FC in 2010. Next season he was signed by one of the biggest clubs in Liberia Barrack Young Controllers FC, where he spent three seasons. During his stint with Barrack Young Controllers, he won the Liberian Premier League and FA Cup and helped the club reach the first round of the CAF Champions League.

Nonetheless, Dennis left Liberia in 2014 to join Jordanian premier league club, Al Ahli Amman. He spent two years with Al Ahli and won the Jordan FA Cup and Super Cup titles before leaving for Malaysia where he featured for Sarawak FA in the Malaysian Super League.

After six months in Malaysia with Sarawak, Dennis returned to Jordan to play for his former club, Al Ahli. He spent the remainder of the 2016-17 season with Al Ahli before joining another Jordanian Premier League side Al-Hussein in 2017.

Despite helping the club survive relegation, the club declined to extend his contract. As he searched for a new contract, Dennis returned to BYC in September 2018.

RFYC, Bengaluru FC to contest Hero Sub-Junior League final after exciting semifinal wins

Madgao, May 20, 2019: The final of the Hero Sub Junior League 2018-19 will see Reliance Foundation Young Champs take on Bengaluru FC as both sides clinched semifinal victories on Monday at the Rosary Ground in Navelim, Goa.

RFYC got the better of Bengaluru Youth Football League in a thrilling contest that ended in a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in regulation time in the first semifinal. In the second, Bengaluru FC came back from a goal down against Sudeva FC to record a 2-1 win and seal their berth in the summit clash.

RFYC CLAIM SHOOTOUT WIN AGAINST BYFL AFTER LAST-MINUTE DRAMA

The first half of the first semifinal saw RFYC dominate proceedings from the start as they took the lead through Yanglem Singh in the ninth minute as his shot from distance flew into the top corner. Just three minutes later, it could have been two goals for the Mumbai-based side as winger Prantik Saha raced into the box from the left but saw his shot crash off the crossbar and back into play.

At the break, the scoreline read 1-0 in favour of RFYC but the gap could have easily been more if not for some terrific goalkeeping from BYFL’s Som Kumar, who made a number of top-notch saves in the first half. The best of the lot came in the 23rd minute as Som dived brilliantly to his right to stop a rasping effort from RFYC’s Harsh Vaghela from inside the box.

BYFL came out charging in the second half and looked to press their opponents high up the pitch, which saw them come close to the equalizer. However, as the tempo settled down, the game became a battle between RFYC forward Harsh Palande and the BYFL custodian.

In the 50th minute, Som produced yet another fine save to deny Harsh and two minutes later, a long-range shot from the striker seemed destined for the top corner but once again, the keeper clawed it away to safety. Two minutes from time, in the 68th minute, Harsh finally found the net as he latched on to a through ball before rounding the goalkeeper and tapping the ball into the empty net.

RFYC were now 2-0 up and seemed set for a place in the final but BFYL were not ones to back down. With a minute to go, Dhananjay Darji scored with a powerful volley from inside the penalty area to halve the deficit and in the first minute of added time, he was on hand to level the scores as he headed in a free-kick from the right flank and sent the match into a penalty shootout.

It was a battle of nerves in the shootout and at the end of it all, it was RFYC goalkeeper Aniket Ghosh who was the hero for his team. He saved three out of four penalties to take his side to the final as Viraj Arora remained the only scorer for BYFL. On the other hand, RFYC scored three out of their five spot kicks – through Supratim Das, captain Narendra Naik and Yanglem Singh.

BENGALURU FC SEAL FINAL SPOT WITH COMEBACK WIN OVER SUDEVA

In the second semifinal, Sudeva FC and Bengaluru FC faced off in an absorbing battle that saw great end-to-end action. BFC started off on the front foot as they created some early openings but just six minutes into the match, it was Sudeva who took the lead through midfielder Hiti Seb from the penalty spot.

The side from Bengaluru upped the ante as a result, coming close to scoring on a number of occasions. Ishaan Raghunanda had a chance to shoot from the right flank and kept his shot on target, which was tipped past the post by keeper Pankaj Bhandari in the 16th minute.

Four minutes later, they were inches away from equalizing as a chipped effort from the BFC striker was cleared off the line in an acrobatic manner by Sudeva’s Bijay Champia. Soon, Rohit Negi had a chance from a free-kick from the right flank but his curling effort landed on the top of the net.

With the half coming to a close, BFC were not to be denied in the third minute of added time as they scored their first with a goal straight from the training ground. Skipper Gautam Rajesh played a short corner and crossed the ball from the left flank, which was headed in at the far post by defender Vinith Venkatesh.

Scoring just before the break certainly upped BFC’s confidence and they carried it on in the second half – taking the lead in the 40th minute. It was another aerial ball that did the trick as Ishaan’s cross from the right found Chandan Biju unmarked and he headed it home to make it two to BFC.

Sudeva tried hard to find their way past a sturdy BFC defence but could not gain the upper hand. In the 53rd minute, Bengaluru were inches away from their third goal as forward Yodhin Rishyak struck a powerful shot from the top of the box but saw it come back out off the post.

In the end, Bengaluru held on for the win and made their way into the final, that will take place at the Don Bosco Ground in Margao on Wednesday (May 22, 2019).

IWL 2019: Sethu FC thrash SSB to setup Manipur Police final

LUDHIANA: Sethu FC produced a brilliant performance against a hapless SSB Women FC, as the Tamil Nadu based side engineered a 8-1 victory at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here, on Monday. This win sends Sethu into the Hero Indian Women’s League Final, where they will face Manipur Police.

Sabitra Bhandari netted four goals to take her tournament tally up to 13 from six appearances, but it was Dangmei Grace, who stole the show with her display from the right wing, as she scored a hat-trick and made a couple of assists to take the Player of the Match Award.

SSB started off the game with a higher tempo, laying a proverbial siege on the Sethu penalty area. They created plenty of chances in the opening exchanges, but failed to capitalise on them, something that cost them dearly later on.

It did not take Sethu much time to capitalise on the early missed chances by SSB, as Dangmei Grace put them in the lead within the first quarter of an hour. The India international was on form in the second semifinal of the day, as she created the chance that led to the second goal, as she put in a low cross from the right that was finished off by Nepal international Sabitra Bhandari.

Grace soon added a third on the stroke of half time, to make it a convincing lead for Sethu as they headed into the tunnel.

It was much of a cat-and-mouse game in the second half, as SSB pressed forward, looking to reduce the deficit, but Sethu kept hitting them with swift counter-attacks.

Grace scored one a few minutes after the restart, while Sabitra Bhandari scored two more as both the India and the Nepal internationals completed their hat-tricks, before Dular Marandi pulled one back for SSB. However, Ratanbala soared up the pitch from the restart and immediately restored Sethu’s six-goal cushion just a minute later.

This massive win means that Sethu will join Manipur Police in the final on Wednesday, May 22 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, in a day’s time.

IWL 2019: Manipur Police beat Gokulam Kerala to reach final

LUDHIANA: Manipur Police made their way to the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League Final after a thrilling performance that saw them beat Gokulam Kerala FC 4-2 despite being one player down for almost the entirety of the second half at the Guru Nanak Stadium, here on Monday.

Bala Devi was the star of the show yet again, as she netted all four of the Manipur goals to help them come back from being 1-2 down after the North-eastern side’s defender Romi Devi was sent off on the 47th minute.

Manipur Police went on the offensive early on and started creating a lot of chances. Unlike their previous game, they started with a 4-4-2 formation with Bala Devi and Daya Devi operating up front. Bala dropped deep to add more numbers to the Manipur midfield and feed the balls to Daya.

It was one of these moves that got Manipur their goal on the quarter-hour mark. Daya was played into the box via an aerial through ball, but was fouled by Gokulam centreback Poli Koley. The referee immediately pointed to the spot, and Bala Devi converted the penalty to put the side from the North-east in front.

Gokulam were having some trouble to get their attacks going, as Manipur made a concerted effort to crowd out Manisha, who was playing in the attacking midfield role. Soon, they made a couple of tactical changes that turned things in their favour.

Poli Koley was brought off, as the Kerala side pushed Lako Bhutia to the centreback position, while Naocha Devi came on to take up the holding midfield spot alongside captain Dalima Chhibber. Soon after, Gokulam gaffer pushed Manisha up front, while Anju Tamang played in the hole behind her.

This new approach started working for Gokulam, as they started to play their counter-attacks off Manisha. They finally got their equaliser through a corner, as Bina Devi turned it into her own net from a melee.

Gokulam came out with the early initiative in the second half, and Anju Tamang penetrated the Manipur box and fired a shot that was blocked off the line. However, it had struck Romi Devi’s hand and she was subsequently sent off. Ranjana Chanu converted the ensuing penalty to put Gokulam in front for the first time.

Manipur, however, did not lie low, despite being one player down. They pressed forward, and earned another foul inside the opposition box, which gave them a penalty to equalise from. Bala Devi duly converted it to put her side level.

The Daya-Bala combination finally worked out, as the former soared in from the left and sent in a low cross for Bala to convert from close range with a little over 10 minutes of regulation time left on the clock. A minute later, it was a bit of individual brilliance that did the magic for Manipur, as Bala turned fullback Linthoi inside-out, and fired a left-footer into the bottom corner.

With this performance, Bala now moves on to 26 goals six matches in the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League, as Manipur Police progress to the final.

TRAU FC win 2nd Division League, qualify for I-League

NEW DELHI: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) lauded Manipur club TRAU FC for winning the 2nd Division League 2018-19, and qualifying to the next edition of I-League.

They are the second club from the state after NEROCA FC, to have qualified for the I-League from the second tier in three years.

TRAU FC defeated Ozone FC 2-1 at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal today (May 19, 2019) to clinch the championship with one match left. TRAU FC have amassed 15 points from 5 matches (so far), whereas second-placed Chhinga Veng FC are on 10 points having played an equal number of matches.

Sunando Dhar, CEO, I-League said: “Congratulations TRAU FC for the achievement. I’m sure the I-League will be more competitive and challenging next season with their inclusion. I wish them all the best for the next endeavour.”

IWL 2019: Rising Student Club end campaign with win over FC Alakhpura

LUDHIANA: Rising Student Club managed to post their first win of the campaign, as they beat FC Alakhpura 2-1 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, on Friday.

Sibani Sharma and Ashrita Kangadi scored the two goals for RSC, while Raveena had pulled one back in between for Alakhpura.

RSC had the early start, as they dominated possession in the opening exchanges and passed it around near their attacking third. It took them just eight minutes to break the deadlock. 

Sibani Sharma lined up a free-kick from about 30 yards out. She thundered the ball towards Alakhpura goalkeeper Neelam, who managed to get a palm to it, but there was just too much power in that shot as the ball tumbled over the line.

That gave RSC more initiative to go forward in attack, as they pressed forward in attack. This gave Alakhpura the perfect opportunity to hit the Odisha side on the counter, as Raveena finished off a goalmouth melee to score the equaliser.

However, it did not take long for RSC to regain their lead, as Ashrita Kangadi finished off another attack just seconds after the Alakhpura goal.

The side from Haryana came out with more conviction in the second half, as substitute Pooja Devi took control in the middle of the park. With this result, RSC have posted their first win of the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League campaign. However, both the sides were already out of contention for the semifinals.

IWL 2019: SSB secure semi-final spot with win over Hans Women FC

LUDHIANA: SSB Women FC notched up a comfortable win over Hans Women FC by a 2-0 margin at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Friday, to secure themselves a spot in the 2018-19 Hero Indian Women’s League semifinals.

Anibala Devi, who put SSB in the lead in the first half, was the star of the show, before Sandhya Kachhap added a second minutes before the final whistle.

It was a tight contest in the middle of the park, but SSB edged the midfield battles and created more chances.

The side from Bengal even managed to rattle the crossbar courtesy a shot from midfielder Sangita Basfore.

SSB managed to take get the lead on the half-hour mark, when they launched a swift counter-attack that saw a cross from the left being beautifully converted to a goal by an air-borne Anibala Devi, who tapped her volley past the keeper.

That goal gave more confidence to SSB, and they started to gain more control as midfielders Basfore and Anibala started to grow into the game.

The Siliguri-based side came out with more vigour after the change of ends, as Basfore and Anibala dominated the ball from the middle of the park.

They launched a flurry of attacks that put the Hans defence under a lot of pressure. Sumila Chanu soared up the SSB left wing and centred it a few minutes after the restart. Dular Marandi, who was inside the area, scuffed her header, but got a second chance, which she put wide with a left-footer.

The midfield duo of Sangita Basfore and Anibala Devi combined again as the former laid it off for latter whose shot was saved by Hans keeper Ketaki Mangala Devi.

As the game progressed, SSB, who needed just a draw to book their spot in the semifinals, were content on keeping possession of the ball, not allowing the opposition to create opportunities.

With about five minutes of regulation time left on the clock, Hans employed an interesting set-piece tactic, as they sent their goalkeeper Tyagi forward to attack the ball. However, it was cleared after a melee inside the SSB box and she had to return to her post eventually.

Right at the end of regulation time, Hans gave away a cheap free-kick near their box as they picked up the ball, thinking it to be a throw-in. However, the whole of the ball had not crossed the whole of the line, and the referee awarded a free-kick to SSB.

The ensuing free-kick dropped inside the Hans six-yard area, before it was side-footed into the net by Sandhya Kachhap, to secure the win for the Bengal side.

National team players pepped up over Stimac’s appointment

NEW DELHI: Igor Stimac’s appointment has been met with huge optimism and positivity from players of the Indian Men’s Senior National Team. Almost immediately after Stimac’s appointment as the Head Coach of the Blue Tigers, lot many players expressed their “happiness,” and welcomed the Coach from Croatia saying, Indian Football “will benefit from his immense experience.”

Sandesh Jhingan, Central Defender Blue Tigers mentioned “Stimac’s experience will be great for Indian Football, especially after what he has achieved with Croatia in 2014.”

“At the moment, Croatia are ranked 5 in the FIFA ladder, besides being the FIFA World Cup finalists, and him being one of the pioneers of that process shows his positive vision,” he said. “Personally, it’s a big bonus for me. He was a central defender during his playing days, and had such a great World Cup in 1998. So it’s an opportunity for me to learn a lot.”

Jhingan’s comments came after talismanic striker Sunil Chhetri had tweeted on Stimac’s appointment.

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to the new boss, @stimac_ligor on his appointment as coach of the National team. He brings with him tremendous experience of having coached on some of the biggest stages in football. We will do well to benefit from it,’ was Chhetri’s first of a series of tweets from his personal handle @chetrisunil11.

Chhetri also mentioned that he has already spoken to the boys of the National Team.

This will be a process, one towards which we will be giving nothing less than 100%. I’ve already spoken with the boys from the National team, and we have begun working on our fitness as we need to switch modes soon.’

Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu said he is “really looking forward” to the camp in Delhi.

“I am very excited to be honest. We have a busy year coming ahead which is really good for us to keep developing as a team. We need games like the King’s Cup, and the Hero Intercontinental Cup to challenge ourselves to grow. I am really looking forward, and very happy,” Gurpreet told www.the-aiff.com “If we keep doing our jobs like we have in the recent past, I am sure we will grow even more.”

Pritam Kotal, often referred to as ‘Mr. Consistent’ by the fans also couldn’t hide his excitement.

“I am very excited to have under a new coach in the like of Igor Stimac. His experience will be a great addition to the team and we will look to go one better under his leadership,” he opined.

Jhingan also stressed on the importance of being patient. “Most importantly, it’s time for me and the entire squad to adapt to his system and believe in the process, and vision behind it. As a nation we need to be patient, have a positive attitude, and support each other for more glories,” he expressed.

Chhetri concluded his series of tweets explaining: ‘When there is a change in guard at the helm, what doesn’t change is our desire to keep improving. What I am also assuming won’t change is the way all you fans have backed us. Let’s all turn to this new chapter.’

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.