Tag: Kerala Blasters

FC Pune City has a team for playoffs, says Iain Hume

Pune: In a team that has likes of Emiliano Alfaro, Marcelinho, adding Iain Hume makes it the most potent striking force. FC Pune City’s Iain Hume feels with him and the new players added, the team can surely do something they haven’t done in the past.

“To be honest, two (Alfaro and Marcelinho) of them for the last two years and myself for four years, we score goals, we work hard for the team. So I think everyone will expect us to keeping scoring goals and win the league but that isn’t going to be easy. It’s going to be a lot more competitive league this year. We are just going to continuing doing what we have for our teams and maybe do something for the team that we haven’t in the past,” said Hume on the sidelines of his team’s pre-season training in Goa.

The Canadian striker is Indian Super League’s highest goal-scorer with 28 goals in 59 appearances moved from Kerala Blasters FC to the Pune franchise earlier this season. For him, getting back on his feet is the biggest target than maintaining his top billing. “FC Pune City is doing everything to make me fit and that’s what my plan is, to get back to playing games,” said Hume.

For now, Hume is undergoing a strict recovery regime but seeing his club’s current squad in the pre-season, he is confident of the club making it to playoffs to begin with. “We have a right mix of experience and youth in the side and realistically we should look for a spot in playoffs and from their look at going into the finals,” Hume said.

He feels his addition along with other signings should influence the side in going that one step further. “Adding myself and couple of others, we are hoping that we can influence a little bit and who knows maybe go a step further than semifinals or maybe more,” Hume explained.

Ask him about Kerala and the prospect of facing his former side in Kochi, Hume is quick to profess his love and respect for the fans there. “I know the Kerala fans are incredible and they follow their team everywhere. The love and respect is mutual and I know it’s going to be hard to go there and play for us, but we have got a squad which is confident of achieving good results,” concluded Hume.

ISL allure Bengal with mouth-watering opening game night at Kolkata

KOLKATA: Indian Super League (ISL) today announced the fixtures for 2018-19 until the mid-season break, featuring 12 rounds and 59 games with a kick-off in Kolkata.

The fifth edition of ISL will commence with a new look ATK – a two-time champion, renewing its seasonal rivalry against Kerala Blasters FC on Saturday, September 29, at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium).

The following Super Sunday promises to be an equally enthralling game night in south India, pitting last season’s runners-up Bengaluru FC against champions Chennaiyin FC on September 30 at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru.

The upcoming season will have three breaks, two for FIFA windows (October 8 – 16, 2018 and November 12 – 20, 2018), and one, starting from December 17, 2018, for the Indian national team’s preparatory camp ahead of the AFC Asian Cup in UAE.

Fixtures for 2019 will be announced on a later date.

The League has moved away from double-headers on weekends this season, while having the kick-off for all matches at 7:30 pm (IST). View the fixtures here.

Youngster sign new two-year deal at Pune; Kerala ropes striker

MUMBAI: Central midfielder Rohit Kumar has signed a two-year extension with FC Pune City. The 21-year old who was drafted by the club in 2017 ISL draft will remain with the Stallions till 2020.

The Delhi lad joined the FC Pune City in 2017-18 through drafts after spending three years in DSK Shivajians. In the last season, Rohit played 14 matches scoring two goals, both against ATK, one each in home and away fixtures.

On extending Rohit’s stay with the club, FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel said, “Rohit has been one of the most impressive young talents we drafted last season. We had been following his growth closely during his time at the DSK Shivajians FC. His attitude and work ethic has been exemplary, be it on or off the field. His ball distribution and game awareness allowed the team to build attacks on multiple occasions. We are glad he has chosen to continue his development with us.”

Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters has signed striker Seiminlen Doungel from NorthEast United.

The 24-year-old from Manipur is commonly known as Len scored a hat-trick against Chennaiyin FC last season while playing for NorthEast United.

Doungel started his career in the youth team of JCT before joining East Bengal for the I-League in 2011. During 2012-2013 he played for Palian Arrows. In 2014 Doungel played for Shillong Lajong in the I-League and moved onto North East United to play for the ISL season in 2014. He also played for Delhi Dynamos for the 2015 ISL season before returning to North East United for the 4th ISL season.


FC Goa sign top Indian winger

PANJIM: FC Goa have announced the signing of Manipur winger, Jackichand Singh from Kerala Blasters FC.

The winger has represented Maharashtra duo FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) in the past and has made his move to Goa for the forthcoming season of the football mega event.

Jackichand was picked up by FC Pune City in the first ever football player auction in the second season of the league and went on to score one goal for the club before moving to Mumbai City FC the following season. At Mumbai, Jackichand was an integral part of the attacking contingent and contributed to the success of the team on the pitch.

The Manipuri then moved to Kerala Blasters FC for the recently concluded edition of the ISL and had his best personal season in the history of the competition. The winger went on to score two goals, including one against the Gaurs and assisted three more for the club. Jackichand has also pulled on the blue of the national team on 16 occasions, contributing to two goals in the process.

Said Jackichand on his move to FC Goa, “Signing for FC Goa is a very proud moment for me and it was something I really wanted. The attractive brand of football the team plays under Sergio Lobera is one of the main reasons why I wanted to join this team and I’m very happy that I’m here now,”. He added, “I can’t wait to get out on to the pitch and showcase what I have to offer to the amazing fans of the club. It’s a well-known fact that the fans always back the team and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of them at the Fatorda stadium.”

FC Goa Head Coach Sergio Lobera was excited at the prospect of the wily winger joining the ranks and said, “I think it is a really good signing. His profile adapts very well to our philosophy and is a player with a tremendous turn of pace and ability to destabilize defenders. He is good at one on one situations as well and provides assist to the team while also being able to score goals. I’m happy with the effort the club has put in to sign the player because I am certain that he is a player who will help us achieve our goals,” he mentioned.

ISL 4: FC Goa put Kerala Blasters to the sword

Kochi: FC Goa put an end to Kerala Blasters FC’s resurgence as they handed them their second successive defeat in the Indian Super League.

With David James replacing Rene Meulensteen, Kerala had secured seven points from his first three games in charge, as much as Meulensteen in his seven games. However, the loss against Jamshedpur FC in the last game was followed by another 1-2 defeat at the hands of FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, on Sunday.

Ferran Corominas scored his 10th goal of the season in the seventh minute while another Spaniard, Edu Bedia, secured the winner in the 77th minute after CK Vineeth had drawn his team level in the 29th minute.

The win gave FC Goa 19 points from 10 matches but they continue to be placed fourth on the ISL table. The Goans however have a match in hand and can move to the top of the table if they can defeat Mumbai City FC in their next match at home on the coming Sunday.

As expected FC Goa started with attacking intentions and made it clear in the fourth minute when Manuel Lanzarote’s shot from outside the box almost resulted in a stunning goal. The ball, however, struck the post and rebounded back.

Kerala, however, were not lucky three minutes later when Goa struck with a classic team goal. A through ball from Brandon Fernandes for Mandar Rao Desai saw the winger cut it back for Corominas, and the highest goal scorer did well to hold on to it, look up and then shoot past the goalkeeper and defender Sandesh Jhingan on the goalline.

Kerala were subdued and did not trouble the Goa defence. Siam Hanghal was the first to have a good look at the rival goal and his attempt from outside the danger zone struck the crossbar before sailing out. That encouraged Kerala Blasters and they had the equaliser soon.

It was CK Vineeth who provided the breakthrough in the 29th minute. A goal kick from Laxmikant Kattimani saw defender Wes Brown head it into the path of Hanghal who flicked it for Vineeth. The Kerala sharpshooter easily finished by hooking the ball into the top corner past an onrushing Kattimani.

In the second session, there were not too many chances for either team. Vineeth tried an ambitious overhead kick which sailed wide and another attempt from him went straight to the keeper.

For Goa, Manuel Lanzarote’s free kick was off target and so was Mandar’s shot from the left. However, with Goa enjoying so much of ball possession, opportunity would always be there. That chance came in the 77th minute when Brandon Fernandes whipped in a corner which Edu Bedia glanced home the header across the goalkeeper into the far post for the winner.

ISL 4: Jerry, Ashim star in Jamshedpur’s 2-1 win over Kerala

Jamshedpur: Jamshedpur FC’s Jerry Mawhmingthanga scored the fastest goal in the history of the Indian Super League to give the home side the lead just 22 seconds after kick-off. Since then, Steve Coppell’s side did not look back against Kerala Blasters, eventually winning 2-1 after Ashim Biswas had added another in the first half.

It was a vital win for Jamshedpur, and keeps their hopes of making the top four alive — and also brought an end to David James’ unbeaten three-match streak since taking over the reigns at Kerala.

Ashim was involved in the opening goal as well when his turn-and-shot attempt was slightly deflected into the path of Jerry, who quickly latched onto the loose ball, rounded Paul Rachubka and slotted it past him to start the game with a flurry. Iain Hume then saw his thumping header from a corner cleared off the line by Yumnam Raju. But it was all Jamshedpur in the opening 15 minutes and Kerala took some time getting adjusted to the pace of the game. Their troubles worsened when key midfielder and new signing Keziron Kizito had to come off due to a shoulder injury — and was later seen heavily strapped in the technical area.

Jamshedpur extended their lead when Bikash Jairu’s cross was missed by both Jerry and Sandesh Jhingan. Ashim was waiting though, and swept it into the net with power and placement to make it 2-0 to give his side an uncharacteristic lead. Coppell had promised that his side would play on the attack and it was refreshing to see them go all out in the search for three points.

The first 20 minutes of the second half were cagey at best. Jamshedpur were playing on the break, having got their goals in the first period. As for Kerala, their frustrations were captured in one moment when Hume kicked out at Jerry after being challenged from behind.

The game needed a goal to open up, but it came too late, when Mark Sifneos, who had come on for the frustrated Hume, tapped in a header from close range in injury time.

The second half saw more fouls and arguments than openings though. There was only one notable chance for Jamshedpur, when Jerry’s fizzing delivery found Izu Azuka’s head, but his attempt didn’t go in. He was at it again when a long ball found him on the left channel, but he tried to open up his body and Jhingan had read the danger.

Jamshedpur’s game management saw off the final few minutes to record their first home win of the season.

The win took Jamshedpur to 7th position, on 13 points, just one behind Kerala Blasters with a game in hand, and above ATK. It also throws open the battle for 4th position in a big way.

ISL 4: Mumbai City FC up against resurgent Kerala Blasters

Mumbai: Mumbai City FC will welcome a resurgent Kerala Blasters when they take on the visitors from South at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday night. The two teams are separated by just three points at the halfway stage of Hero Indian Super League, and Kerala’s new head coach David James has not yet lost a game since his return to the club.

Mumbai City are also in a rich vein of form – unbeaten in three games with two of those being victories. But their head coach Alexandre Guimarães believes that its a different side they’ll be facing when compared to team which drew 1-1 against them in early December this season.

“A new coach shakes up everyone – those being left on the bench, those starting, everyone. They have won a very important game away and it has made them alive and that is a warning for us that we cannot give them any chances. They also have a new foreign player who gives them something different. This is a team which will travel energised,” he said, referring to new signing Keziron Kuzito, who has made a good start to life in Indian football.

That said, Guimarães was confident of his side’s ability and said that half of their season’s mission was complete.

“Our first goal of the season was to finish close to the playoff spots at the halfway stage and I think we’ve accomplished that. This has put us in a good situation to continue to compete and we hope that we can make the most from run of home games now. I am very confident that we have the resources and the players to fight till the end and be in the top four – that is for sure,” he said.

He added that he was curious to see how his side will penetrate the organised defence line of the Blasters. As for the Blasters, their head coach David James said that Mumbai were at a slight advantage with the extra rest they have had – and that meant for work for the physios to get his side ready for games in quick succession. He also said that Mumbai City will present a very different challenge compared to Delhi Dynamos, who Kerala beat 3-1 in their previous game.

“It was important that we were disciplined and showed no fear. We had to get the result, especially given the results around us. And that is what we have to do tomorrow. Mumbai have a different style of play compared to Delhi – we have to adapt ourselves to that style. Fortunately we have a good coaching staff and have had the opportunity to prepare. As much as the win was enjoyable against Delhi, this is about another away game and we still have to do some things right which we were not able to,” he said.

Considering the nationwide support Blasters receive, James and company will certainly feel at home at the Mumbai Football Arena creating a good atmosphere for football, and will look to ride on it to turn their season around.

ISL 4: Hume strikes form with hat-trick for Kerala Blasters

Delhi: Hat-trick hero Iain Hume guided Kerala Blasters FC to a 3-1 victory over Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday.

The win, only their second in nine matches, takes Kerala two spots up to sixth position on the ISL points table. For Delhi Dynamos, it was another night to forget at their home ground as they continued to languish at the bottom of the table.

Hume struck first in the first session to give his team the lead, only for Pritam Kotal to equalise just before half time. In the second session, Hume struck form as he completed his hat-trick with goals in the 78th and 83rd minute.

David James, who took over as the head coach of Kerala after Rene Meulensteen parted ways with club, saw his side open the scoring early in the game, thanks to a neat finish from Hume. In the 12th minute of the game, after some good work by Courage Pekuson down the left where he got past Pritam Kotal to get inside the box, Hume was on hand to slot the ball home.

Things were going well Kerala Blasters but in the 40th minute Dimtiri Berbatov had to come off due to what looked like a hamstring injury. And Just before half time, Pritam Kotal leveled the scores for the home side. The right back was unmarked at the far post from a Romeo Fernandes free kick and he rose to guide the ball past the Kerala goalkeeper.

Both teams went into the break locked 1-1. After the restart, Delhi Dynamos showed more impetus going forward. Lallianzuala Chhangte put in a few good balls into the box for the Delhi forwards to take advantage of. But it was Hume who gave his side the lead again in the 77th minute. After taking the balll from a throw in, Hume charged into the box taking on defenders before slotting the ball past the Delhi keeper.

Ten minutes before full time, Hume settle the tie with a third on the night. A Mark Sifneos through ball put Hume through on goal, and the Canadian international lifted the ball over the onrushing keeper to complete his hat-trick.

ISL 4: ​Rejuvenated Blasters hope for a show in Lion’s den

Delhi: Delhi Dynamos started the season with a bang, beating FC Pune City 3-2 in their opening match. But that was way back on 22nd November. In the seven matches played since then, they have lost six and drawn one – and find themselves rock bottom in the Indian Super League table. Another club that wasn’t expected to be caught in the quagmire of the bottom three is Kerala Blasters, but they are in 8th – a disappointing start has seen them recall David James as head coach. His first job will be to secure a victory after a run of three matches without one.

The Dynamos continue to hog possession and stitch up good passing play – but their failure to win has left fans exasperated. Whether the excuse of good performances with nothing to show for it will stand the test of time will be interesting.

“Kerala are strong in defence and very experienced. They are compact and difficult to break down. But it is also difficult for them against us,” Dynamos’ head coach Miguel Angel Portugal said.

“At home it is most important that we win. I think we have an opportunity to win. A point is important for confidence though,” he added before mentioning that he realised a new coach was in the mix with James coming in.

“I know about David James as a goalkeeper for England. I don’t know about him as a manager,” he added with a chuckle.

James meanwhile, sounded confident and praised the depth of the Kerala Blasters side. He did mention that there will be late fitness tests for some, but at the same time, said that all the players were available as far as he was concerned.

“My first job it to familiarise myself with the players. There could be a tendency to watch differently than as a fan. I would be disappointed if we didn’t get the results. We have to get results as quickly as possible. I’m confident, players are confident and that is good for me and it is a challenge,” he said.

Kerala have traditionally been late bloomers in the league and have even managed to make it to the playoffs with a negative goal difference in the past. In James’ first game last week against Pune City, a more direct approach was seen and he even took off Dimitar Berbatov to suit his style of play.

This will be a battle of huge consequences with both teams struggling as the League is approaching its half way mark. The pressure will certainly be on – as after the 90 minutes of game on Wednesday, both sides could get into panic situation.

ISL 4: Kerala Blasters look to get campaign back on track

Kochi: Kerala Blasters will be without their chief coach Rene Meulensteen, who they have already parted ways with mutually, but the hosts will not be short on motivation as they host FC Pune City in the Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, on Thursday.

The home side are manager less after Rene Meulensteen and the club mutually decided to part ways. Meulensteen, who had famously assisted Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, was brought in the summer to guide the last year’s finalist to the title this time around. But a run of unfavourable results led to his early departure.

With just one win from their first seven games, Kerala Blasters FC are struggling for form this season, but with their loyal fans throwing their weight behind the team a turnaround cannot be ruled out.

“Well, when the season started every team wanted to do well. So did we. But the results are there for everyone to see. But we are Kerala Blasters; we have the best fans. So, for now the most important thing is tomorrow’s game and get a right result for the fans,” Kerala Blasters FC assistant coach Thangboi Singto said during the pre-match media interaction.

Coming out on the wrong side of two consecutive Southern derbies didn’t help Meulensteen cause as Kerala drew against Chennaiyin FC and lost to Bengaluru FC.

Despite the departure of their high-profile coach, Kerala Blasters are likely to stick to the same strategy.

“In terms of our planning, we have to do what we have been doing. But what is most important is to score and not concede. They are all professional players and they know how it works,” said Singto.

While Kerala are facing trouble both on and off the pitch, things couldn’t have been any different for Ranko Popovic’s FC Pune City.

Pune’s away form has been spectacular this season and they are coming into this fixture on the back of two great results against FC Goa and North East United. But Vladica Grujic, FC Pune City assistant coach, said his side will show no complacency

“Every game is difficult. Maybe they are not in a good shape at the moment. We will have to concentrate on our game and not take anything lightly,” he said.

Pune will miss their coach Ranko Popovic who is serving a four-match ban.