Kolkata: Two goals within the first 25 minutes of a breakneck first half resulted in an entertaining 1-1 draw between ATK and FC Goa at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata, on Wednesday.
Robbie Keane and Ferran Corominas found the back of the net in an entertaining first half, but despite some good attempts on goal, there was no success in the second session of the Hero Indian Super League encounter.
It was brilliant first 45 minutes of end-to-end football. ATK created three openings in the first five minutes, and one of them translated into a goal when Ryan Taylor’s freekick found an unmarked Robbie Keane, who headed it downwards and into the back of the net to set the tone.
Goa rode the initial storm and a long-range curler from Mandar Rao Desai woke the visitors up. The next few minutes, however, had the referee in the limelight. First, he waved away a penalty shout from Manuel Lanzarote and then allowed play to go on despite ATK blocking a quick freekick from a yard out and finally denied Goa a penalty when Brandon Fernandes was brought down inside the box by Prabir Das, who was already on a yellow card. He gave a freekick instead, from which Ashutosh Mehta had to make a last-ditch block.
ATK could have increased their lead but Taylor’s haste made waste. Minutes later, Goa taught ATK a lesson on how football should always be played on the whistle. ATK expected the referee to stop the match after the assistant had his flag up, but the man in charge waved play on and Goa caught the home side napping. Lanzarote found Corominas, who rounded Debjit and smacked it past Prabir’s outstretched foot.
Keane and Brandon then had shots blocked at both ends from a tight angle before Edu Bedia stormed through midfield and took an impressive shot which kissed the far post and went out of play.
The second half was slightly cautious, apart from a few moments of brilliance – one of which came from Corominas. He turned past two men and escaped down the byline before laying it on a platter for Mandar. The Goan couldn’t convert first-time in what was the easiest chance of the match. ATK goalkeeper Debjit Majumder was brilliant as Goa piled on the pressure, beating away numerous shots.
ATK came to life in the last 10 minutes and attacked the visitors, who arrived here after a traveling nightmare which resulted in the match kicking off at 10.45pm. Jayesh Rane’s snapshot didn’t have enough power, Taylor’s cross for Keane was intercepted and Zequinha also had a go from distance but it was just over.
Kolkata: Robbie Keane’s first goal in the Indian Super League (ISL) helped ATK to a 1-0 victory over Delhi Dynamos FC at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake here on Saturday.
Until Keane struck late in the second half, the teams looked destined to share points. But as it turned out, ATK went on to win their second game in success, while Dynamos slumped to yet another defeat to stay rooted to the bottom of the points table.
In the 78th minute, a lovely cushion header from Bipin Singh found Keane on the edge of the box. The former Tottenham striker then showed his class to create an opening for himself with some neat footwork before slotting the ball past Arnab Das Sharma.
After a bright start to the game, both sides turned sloppy in possession. But Keane, who missed a few games due to injury, was influential for the home side throughout the game.
Five minutes into the game, a drop of the shoulder gave Keane enough space inside the Delhi box to find Jayesh Rane but his header went just wide without troubling the goalkeeper.
A few minutes later, ATK had a strong penalty shout. Prabir Das went galloping down the right wing and his attempted cross was handled by Pratik Chowdhary inside the box. But the referee showed no interest and the game went on.
At the other end, Romeo Fernandes had a great chance to give Delhi the lead at the half-hour mark. After some good work in the penalty box, the attacker took a shot at goal. But, unfortunately, his effort was deflected off an ATK defender and went way above the crossbar.
In the second half, Keane could have opened the scoring for Teddy Sheringham’s side in the game that saw a few chances created. Jayesh Rane forwarded a quality ball to Robbie Keane who attempted a shot at goal. Arnab pulled off a good save to deny Keane from scoring his maiden ISL goal.
However, in the end, Keane’s strike turned out to be enough for ATK to take all three points.
Fatorda (Goa): FC Pune City leaped into fourth place after a brilliant 2-0 win over FC Goa at the Fatorda At here on Saturday. By dishing out another impressive counter-attacking performance, they snapped the home side’s streak of three consecutive wins.
It looked like both teams would cancel each other out until the 72nd minute when Marcelinho threaded a pass forward for Emiliano Alfaro, who clinically buried it past Laxmikant Kattimani. Alfaro had a chance to double the lead two minutes later but his shot didn’t have enough pace and was cleared away.
However, Pune finally had their second goal in the 84th minute when Jonatan Lucca gleefully converted after Mandar Rao Dessai’s clearance deflected into his path.
Despite having the better first half, Pune had to work hard and dig deep at times with Goa coming at them in full force in the second period. This was exemplified with Vishal Kaith’s triple save in the 70th minute, when he saved shots from Ferran Corominas, Brandon Fernandes and Manuel Arana as chaos ensued in the Pune box.
Apart from setting up the first goal, Marcelinho was heavily involved in the game, his swept effort and a ballooned shot coming seconds apart from each other in the 50th minute. But he was also in the middle of a penalty shout which the referee waved away. But while they have the attacking verve, Pune won this game on the merit of sitting deep and defending smartly.
They had to soak in a lot of pressure in the first 10 minutes of the match after Mandar and Brandon both got into dangerous areas only to see their shots blocked. It was interesting for Goa to try the long-ball tactic early on, but Pune’s defenders held tight and defended with ease.
But after that cagey start, the game suddenly opened up when Corominas dinked the ball over goalkeeper Kaith, but his attempt clipped the woodwork as the first notable warning shot was fired by the home side. Pune had a glorious chance themselves. Marcelinho was the architect with some incredibly individual ability, setting up Alfaro to tap in, which the striker somehow missed in front of an open net. With frustration setting in for Alfaro, he struck from distance, but his blistering shot was palmed away by Laxmikant Kattimani.
Diego Carlos and Manuel Lanzarote then carved out two half chances, but both went begging as some good goalkeeping and profligacy in front of the net meant the score stayed 0-0 at the break. The game had to come to life at some point, and when it did, Goa looked out of ideas going forward, allowing Pune to hit them on the break and take a valuable three away points.
Ranko Popovic’s methods are finally working, and Pune will host NorthEast United with a lot of confidence in their next match, which is on December 30.
Chennai: Sandesh Jhingan went from zero to hero as he set up CK Vineeth’s 94th minute equaliser with a sharp cross, minutes after he conceded a debatable penalty to allow Rene Mihelic to give Chennaiyin the lead in their Indian Super League match at the Marina Arena in Chennai on Friday. The match ended 1-1.
The referee pointed to the spot in the 87th minute after the ball seemed to hit Jhingan near his underarm as he blocked a shot from close range. Mihelic made no mistake, arranging the ball to the Paul Rachubka’s right after a tiny stutter in his run-up.
Until the deadlock was broken, the Blasters had probably gone closest in the second half when Courage Pekuson turned his man and made space for himself to take a stinging shot which Karanjit Singh expertly palmed away. Rachubka had to make a save of his own at the other end from Gregory Nelson’s shot. The save was fitting as it came shortly after he tripped in front of Jeje Lalpekhlua, almost allowing the striker to score. But Jeje stuck a leg out and a foul was given, saving Rachubka’s blushes.
It was almost disaster for Chennaiyin soon after the second half started when Lalruatthara’s cross deflected off Mailson Alves’ head and almost beat his own keeper. But minutes later they created a chance, with Anirudh Thapa, Lalpekhlua and Raphael Augusto combining to set up Francis Fernandes who should have done better than to shoot straight at the keeper.
It was a first half of few chances as Kerala Blasters mostly played on the counter and Chennaiyin in their quick attacking style, with a lot of dominance in the final third. They had 60% of the ball in the opening 45 minutes, but the best chance of the half fell to Jackichand Singh. It was a blistering counter-attack which saw CK Vineeth release Courage Pekuson. With defenders chasing these two attackers, Jackichand was left all alone on the right win. Pekuson found him and the Indian’s first touch set him up for a shot which skewed off the outside of his boot and flew into the stands.
Chennaiyin had a few opportunities as well. The first one came as early as the third minute but Jude Nworuh was adjudged offside despite being in line. That said, he would be glad to see the flag go up, considering his first time attempt from a tight angle was largely forgettable. Some flying tackles and these half chances apart, both teams were bracing for a more open second half.
The result keeps Chennaiyin in first spot. They have 13 points from seven games. That’s point more than FC Goa (who have two games in hand) and Bengaluru FC. Blasters remain in seventh place with seven points from six matches.
Goa: Ranko Popovic’s FC Pune City will have to put their best foot forward in order to stop high-flying FC Goa in the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) clash at Fatorda Stadium on Saturday.
There is a lot riding on this game for both sides. On one hand, a win for Goa could see them open up a three-point lead at the top of the standings. While on the other hand, a victory for Pune here will enable the team to reach 12 points, thereby equalling three other joint-toppers currently shared by Chennaiyin, Bengaluru and Goa.
As it stands, Sergio Lobera’s FC Goa side is currently tied on 12 points with Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC at the top of the Hero ISL table. However, FC Goa has played just five games when compared to Bengaluru’s seven and Chennaiyin’s six. A win over Pune will allow them to become sole leaders.
“Offence is our strong suit and we’ll stick to it,” says Lobera, under whom FC Goa has been in a tremendous goal-scoring form. The Goan side has picked up 12 of the 15 points on offer thus far with 18 goals scored.
The only criticism faced by Lobera’s team is about its defensive fragility. The Goan side is yet to keep a clean sheet this season and Lobera knows the importance of a perfect defensive display. “It is important to get the defensive balance right. Obviously, we are working on it. Keeping that in mind we have to keep doing what we are doing and improve as a team,” he said.
Commenting on the fitness of star striker Ferran Corominas and Ahmed Johouh, the Goan coach said, “They are fit to play for the tomorrow’s game. They are 100 per cent and that’s why they are there.”
But despite FC Goa’s spectacular form, Pune City coach Ranko Popovic has set his sights on keeping a clean sheet against the home side. “We are playing against the most offensive team in the league. But for us, we are looking to keep a clean sheet and score some goals at other end and to do that we need to be offensive. It will be nice to play in front of the passionate football supporters in Goa,” said the Serbian tactician.
Pune City will be without Baljit Sahni after the forward was sent off against Bengaluru FC.
Kolkata: When defending champions ATK replaced injured midfielder Carl Baker with defender Ryan Taylor it raised a few eyebrows. Talking to the media on the eve of the match against Mumbai even coach Teddy Sheringham didn’t sound too convincing on why he made that choice. But the former Newcastle United player not only played the entire duration of the game against Mumbai City FC last Sunday, he also played his part as the holders registered their first win in ISL-4.
It was an eventful debut for the 33-year-old who created a chance, had one shot on target and even picked a yellow. ATK now face Delhi Dynamos FC in a home game on Saturday and the full back, who switched to the midfield and played on the flanks with equal ease too, said that a weight has been lifted off their shoulder after their win in Mumbai.
“Hopefully, we will push on and get some more wins in the next few games. Everybody in the team are fit and raring to go and wants to show what the team is all about and what we are made off,” said Taylor during a media interaction in Kolkata today.
“We need to start converting the chances. We started playing a little cagey after the goal in the last game. We should be more precise in front of goal,” added Taylor who owes it to Kerala Blasters FC star Iain Hume for his ATK sojourn.
“He speaks very highly of everyone in ATK. He said about how the fans fill up the stadium for every game. That’s what drew me here,” said Taylor and went on to explain the kind of relationship he shares with the former ATK superstar.
“Iain is a good friend. We have known each other for 14 years. He had only good words to say about ISL and he convinced me join the League. He has his family but he comes this far away to play and still loves it,” Taylor said.
KOLKATA: Two-time ISL Champions ATK announced today that the team has signed former Newcastle United player Ryan Taylor as a replacement, for Carl Baker, who is injured and will be missing this season. Ryan known as a versatile player and former England under-21 international, has potential to play as a full-back or across the midfield and has excellent free-kick taking and dead ball skills.
Ryan began his career at Tranmere Rovers in 2002 and made 122 league and cup appearances in three full seasons with the club, being voted as Tranmere’s Player of the Year and onto the PFA Team of the Year in 2004–05. He has previously played for clubs like Wigan Athletic and later joined Newcastle United. Ryan had helped Newcastle United to win as champions of the Championship in 2009–10 and helped the team graduate from relegation.
“I am very excited to play for ATK. I know ATK has a huge fan following who share a high level of passion for their team. I will give my best, for the team and we will get back to winning ways.” Ryan Taylor said.
New Delhi: After two back-to-back defeats, Delhi Dynamos FC coach Miguel Angel Portugal is hoping to guide his boys back to winning ways when they take on Jamshedpur FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday. Delhi started their campaign with a win over FC Pune City FC but have since suffered a dip in form.
While addressing reporters at the pre-match press conference on Tuesday, the Spaniard spoke about the importance of imparting his philosophy and mental toughness to the players so that they produce consistent results.
“In the last match, we had three to four goal-scoring opportunities but then we made mistakes at the back. And that is a problem. For me, you need to score one at least one goal more than the opponent. I need that one goal (more) and that is my philosophy,” Portugal said.
When asked of his decision to bench Lallianzuala Chhangte in their last game against NorthEast United FC, which they lost by 0-2, Portugal said, “He scores goals but sometimes we need him to start from the bench.”
Delhi Dynamos beat FC Pune City 3-2 away from home in their season opener, but since then Portugal’s side has lost both its matches, conceding eight goals and scoring just one in the process.
Their opponents on Wednesday, Jamshedpur FC, have kept three clean sheets in as many games. Managed by former Kerala Blasters FC boss Steve Coppell, Jamshedpur FC have not netted a goal thus far. But Englishman Coppell has nothing but high praise for what his team has achieved. “For a young team that has never played in the Hero ISL before, three clean sheets is a great achievement. Obviously, we would love to score. We don’t go on to the field thinking we won’t score but we are playing against some good quality sides, who have played a lot more ISL football and have more experience.”
Coppell also expressed displeasure over the playing surface at Jamshedpur for the team’s inability to open its account. “Also, our home game was on a difficult surface, so it is an achievement. We are desperate to score but from a coaching point of view, I would prefer a 0-0 result over a 4-4 scoreline. Obviously, we have to score to win games,” Coppell said.
Coppell said that Delhi’s recent dip in form doesn’t mean his team is in an advantageous position. “As I always say, previous games don’t affect you too much. It does play in the back of mind the next day. But the previous games will have no effect on the result tomorrow,” he said.