Category Archives: Desi Football

Bengaluru Stands Tall To Capture I-League Trophy

On Monday, Bangaluru FC repaid their bourgeoning fan base by lifting their very first I-League title at the very first time of asking. Despite a sparsely-attended I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda,lucky Indian fans still witnessed history as the Steelmen created history by beating Dempo 4-2 and in the process relinquishing the vice-like grip the Goan clubs have had on India’s Premier Club Football league.

 

Bengaluru FC celebrations 2

East Bengal haven’t managed it, Mohan bagan haven’t managed it but where the traditional powerhouses failed, a young upstart came, saw and conquered. Bangalore’s Premier Football club – founded only a year ago – waltzed to their first major domestic honour at the very first time of asking. The JSW owned club built on the acquisitions of Sunil Chettri and Robin Singh – seasoned International players – and relied on the coaching nous of Englishman Ashley Westwood to set the league alight in the early stages and maintained their advantage to become the 4th different club – the others are all based in Goa – to lift the prestigious trophy.

 

The Bangalore side took only two minutes to show that they meant business as Sean Rooney fired into an empty net, the Australian profiting from a Singh mishit. The Steelmen should’ve doubled their lead in the 35th minute as Sunil Chettri nodded expertly off a Rooney cross but the referee deemed that the 29-year-old had committed a foul. The away side were comfortable for most of the 1st half and barring a few runs on the right from HolicharanNarzary, they were able to repel most of what the home side threw. Even wily old customers like Beto and Clifford Miranda were unable to provide the sort of inspiration they’ve become symbolic of.

 

Eleven minutes into the second half, Bangaluru finally doubled their lead. Singh controlled a long ball to perfection and smashed his shot off the near post, the effort too hot for LaxmikantKattimani. With Dempo heads dropping, Westwood’s men added more salt to the wound as John Menyongor made it three. The home side’s midfield had looked sloppy for most of the match but Beto managed to shake off the rust by rising to the occasion for his team as the Brazilian’s gem of a free-kick reduced the arrears. The goal seemed to spur the slumbering Goan outfit into life as 7 minutes later, Romeo Fernandes added another strike to the highlight reel and left nerves jangling.

 

Would the league leaders stumble on the brink of triumph?

 

On a landmark occasion such as this, it would’ve been an anti-climax if the Steelmen’s lead sniper failed to score but Chettriduly obliged to seal the title. The 29-year-old embellished the occasion with a neatly taken in goal in added time and set the tone for the ensuing celebrations.

 

The win means East Bengal’s final I-League match against United SC on April 28 is now just a formality as the I-League title has once again passed the Kolkata giants by. But this night was all about the Blues who showed that along with the funding they have a foundation and if you’re good enough then you certainly are old enough.

 

 


East Bengal Capitalize on Pune Mistakes for Win

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Mike Snoei was left to rue his side’s missed chances as East Bengal came from behind to beat Pune FC 1-2 at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune. A 39th minute Anthony D’Souza strike had given the home side the lead before two goals in the space of three minutes from Chidi Edeh and Seimilen Doungel 15 minutes from time got the Red and Gold Brigade all three points.

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Shillong Lajong Edges Mohammedan Sporting in 9 Goal Thriller

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Cornell Glen scored a hat-trick as Shillong Lajong nosed ahead of a 10-man Mohammedan Sporting 4-5 at the Salt Lake Stadium in a match that swung both ways before finishing in favour of the Shillong-based side. This result sees Lajong jump to 5th place, ahead of Dempo and Pune FC, while Mohammedan are still rooted at 12th place, with only Churchill below them, who have a game in hand.

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Interview: Ranti Martins, Rangdajied United

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He is one of I-League’s most prolific strikers, and arguably one of the best foreign players to ever ply his trade on Indian soil. Ranti Martins, from Nigeria, moved to India after signing for Dempo from Ghana Premier League side King Fiasal Babes. He would go on to have a long and illustrious time with the Goan side, and would win many accolades with the team, including a record breaking 32 goals in a single season en route to picking up the 2011-12 title. Playing today for Shillong-based club Rangdajied United, Martins opens up to TOTAL FOOTBALL about being a footballer in India.

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