Tag Archives: Kerala Blasters

Atletico de Kolkata prevail over FC Goa; advance to final

Atletico de Kolkata got their act right in the nick of time to humble crowd favourites FC Goa 4-2 in tie-breaker and advance to the final of the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) football.

Atletico de Kolkata will lock horns with Kerala Blasters FC in the summit showdown at the D Y Patil Stadium in Mumbai on Saturday.

The second leg semifinal between the two fierce rivals went into extra time after they were locked goal-less in the regulation time. With both teams failing to break the deadlock even in the 30 minutes of extra time, the game was decided via penalty shootout in which the visitors emerged winners.

The first leg semifinal between the two sides in Kolkata had ended in a goal-less stalemate.

Things panned out pretty much in the same manner before the Sourav Ganguly co-owned side edged past the hosts on penalties after playing out yet another drab draw in the 120 minutes of play.

While they failed to score in regulation and extra time, Atletico de Kolkata’s Josemi, Mohammed Rafi, Jofre Mateu and Borja Fernandez were bang on target when it mattered most at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

For the Goa outfit, Andre Santos’s spot-kick sailed over the bar while Haroon Amiri’s effort struck the upright. Tolgay Ozbey and Clifford Miranda successfully converted but that was not enough.

Bruno Pinheiro returned from suspension for the home side while coach Zico also included Peter Carvalho in his starting XI. The duo replaced the injured Narayan Das and Youness Bengelloun.

Atletico de Kolkata coach Antonio Lopez Habas made two changes, bringing in Arnab Mondal and Baljit Sahni, who was coming off a one-game suspension. The visitors, though, were without Fikru Teferra.

The visitors had the first chance of the game when Jakub Podany was brought down by Gregory Arnolin, but the resultant free-kick by Josemi was off target.

The home side had its share of chances too when Debabrata Roy laid one for Andre Santos at the far post in the seventh minute. The Brazilian pulled the ball back which was deflected by Ofentse Nato for Romeo Fernandes, but the Indian winger’s effort found the side-netting.


Kerala Blasters beat Delhi Dynamos 1-0

Delhi Dynamos extended their dismal run in the Hero Indian Super League as they lost by a solitary goal to Kerala Blasters to remain at the bottom of the table and put themselves in a difficult position to qualify for the semifinals on Sunday.

Second half substitute Penn Orji scored the all-important goal in the 61st minute as Kerala notched up their third win in nine matches to jump to third spot in the league standings.

Delhi made as many as half a dozen changes in their starting line up from the one that lost 1-4 against FC Goa in their last match here, with captain Alessandro Del Piero taking the field after sitting out of a match but it was same old story for the home side as they slumped to their fourth loss in the tournament at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

It turned out to be another disappointing day for Delhi as their frontmen continued with their inability to score goals but Del Piero had his best day on the field since the start of the league.

The final pass or the final strike never came. Del Piero was at the thick of things with his free-kicks, corner kicks and a few fine passes but all went abegging.

Del Piero had flashes of his old trickery but did not result to any success. He sent Malsawmtluanga on the clear with a fine pass in the 27th minute but the Indian midfielder failed to control the ball properly under pressure from a defender.

The Italian legend was on the verge of scoring his first goal of the tournament but his running header in the 39th minute off a fine cross from the right by Junker.

But, teammate Adil Khan, who was also going for the ball, stood in the way and blocked it, unintentionally though. The ball went towards the right corner and was cleared by defender Cedric Hengbart.

Needing a win to keep themselves in contention for a semifinal berth, both sides showed their attacking intent by pushing the defensive line high and it was a battle of midfield superiority.

There was not much to separate between the two with clear chances not coming either way and Orji’s strike made the difference to the disappointment of the sizable home supporters who turned up on Sunday.

With Sunday’s loss, their fourth in five matches, Delhi remained at the bottom of the eight-team league standings with seven points from mine matches. They have just tasted one win.

Kerala jumped to third spot with 12 points from nine matches, though they have played one more match than the six remaining teams.

Delhi suffered a jolt by the halftime as key central defender Wim Raymaekers was injured and was replaced by Stijn Houben.

The second half saw Delhi giving away spaces for Kerala attackers and the visitors struck just past the hour mark with in-form Penn Orji finding the target five minutes after coming on to the field in place of Raphael Romey in the 56th minute.

Souvik Chakraborty gave away the ball at his own Delhi half and after an interchange with Iain Hume, Orji sent the ball past keeper Kristof Van Hout with a depth placement to the celebration of Kerala supporters among the sizeable crowd at the stadium.

It could have been 2-0 for Kerala four minutes later, but Gonsalves Milagres hit Van Hout’s trailing leg in front of Delhi goal.

Earlier, Delhi made six changes from their last match starting eleven with Del Piero taking the place of Gustavo Dos Santos while Mads Junker taking the place of Morten Skoubo upfront.

Shylo Malsawmtluanga, Pavel Elias and Souvik Chakraborty took the field in place of Robert Lalthlamuana, Bruno Herrero and Steven Dias at the midfield while Adil Khan came in for Naoba Singh.

Kerala Blasters fail to unlock stingy Mumbai defence in 0-0 draw

It was another case of crucial points dropped at home as Kerala Blasters played out a frustrating 0-0 draw against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The hosts dominated the match but just like in previous games, couldn’t get their finishing right. The Mumbai defense put up another impressive performance and Subrata Paul was again at his best — the team has now kept four cleansheets in a row.

Mumbai City made two changes to the starting eleven from the last match as midfielder Lalrindika Ralte replaced Nadong Bhutia while Tiago Ribeiro came in for the injured Andre Moritz.

At the other end, Kerala Blasters made a host of changes with Colin Falvey, Milagres Gonsalves, Raphael Romey, Godwin Franco and CS Sabeeth replacing Nirmal Chettri, Ishfaq Ahmad, Andrew Barisic, Iain Hume and Avinabo in the starting eleven. Iain Hume started on the bench but even his introduction for the final third couldn’t unlock Mumbai’s resilient back four.

It was the hosts that got off to a good start as they created a chance as early as the fourth minute when Penn Orji delivered a delicious cross to Cedric Hengbart which the defender headed over the crossbar. A minute later, Sabeeth released Milagres into the box from the left but Pavel Cmovs put in a brilliant last ditch tackle to deny the forward.

Kerala were quite a force when they poured forward — and they came close to scoring again in the seventh minute when Milagres headed a knock-down from Sabeeth from which Mumbai keeper Subrata Paul made a point blank save. Orji smashed the rebound but it took a deflection for a corner.

Mumbai started finding a foothold as the game settled down amidst unexpected rains. Kerala were playing a high backline with the full backs bustling forward into attack, but Mumbai couldn’t exploit the spaces out wide with Sandesh Jinghan a constant thorn in their forays forward.

Unable to build their way towards goal, Mumbai were reduced to threaten only from the distance but didn’t trouble Kerala until the dying minutes when Tiago Ribeiro’s volley came off the post.

The Kerala defense had done well to keep Anelka quiet for the first thirty minutes and the Frenchman’s first real contribution came in the 34th minute when he ran past three defenders and unleashed a shot from outside the box but some good defending by the centre backs saw the shot deflected for a corner.

Both the teams started the second half in positive fashion, three minutes after the restart, Orji seared forward and threaded through the ball to Pearson who made a great run inside the box but again, it was that man Cmovs who made the interception to deflect it away.

Moments later, a delicious ball over the top sent Anelka clear but David James charged out of his box to clear it away.

Kerala came close to scoring ten minutes into the second half, after a string of headers inside the box, the ball fell to Orji who put too much power into the shot to blast it over.

Both the teams made their first change as Sushil Singh replaced Lalrindika Ralte for Mumbai while Penn Oriji was substituted for Iain Hume who got a splendid reception from the home crowd.

The Blasters were whipping in some delightful crosses but as seen earlier, Subrata Paul’s anticipation was up to the mark and crucially, he was able to thwart those attacks. A moment of madness could have cost Kerala when Milagres deflected an inviting cross from Sabeeth inside the box with his hand but it went unnoticed with the referee.

The game came to life when Mumbai came the closest to scoring in the 76th minute when Tiago’s volley from a poor clearance hit the post and then Friedrich’s header off a corner went straight to James.

Kerala Blasters then upped the ante in search of an equaliser and in the final seconds of the game, Raphael Romey’s weak header was saved by Subrata.

Kerala Blasters clearly looked disappointed with the result as they trudged off the field in disappointment. Earlier, just before the kick-off, Kerala Blasters co-owner and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar felicitated the CISF personell.

Delhi Dynamos play out yet another draw against Kerala Blasters

Delhi Dynamos continued with their winless streak as they played out a goalless draw against Kerala Blasters in a high-intensity Indian Super League match on Sunday.

After their back-to-back defeats at the hands of FC Goa and Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos were searching for a win to boost their confidence but yet again had to settle for a draw in the match which also saw their head coach Harm van Veldhoven being sent off.

The Dutch coach was given marching orders by Indian referee Pranjal Banerjee for kicking the ball at the sidelines as he expressed his frustration apparently after a free kick was denied in the 74th minute of the match watched by nearly 35,000 crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Delhi side’s birthday boy Alessandro Del Piero made the starting eleven but the Italian legend, who turns 40 today, continued his search for form as he could not make much of an impact in the match.

He was involved in a few goal-bound moves but ended up being booked in the 37th minute. He was substituted in the 72nd minute by Pavel Elias.

Both teams played attacking football though there were not many goal-scoring chances. Their defences held firm with the match turning out to be a battle of midfield supremacy.

With the draw, their fourth in the tournament so far, Delhi Dynamos remained on seventh spot in the eight-team league table with seven points from seven matches. They have won just one match and lost twice. They have not won for four matches on the trot.

Kerala Blasters are just above the Delhi side at sixth spot with eight points from seven matches. They have won twice, drawn twice and lost thrice.

The match got off to a lively start with both teams getting immediately into attack mode. Delhi settled into their passing game, while Kerala drove forward with pace.

The home side were nearly gifted a goal when the visitors gave away possession just outside their own box. Their keeper Kristof Van Hout and defender Shouvik Ghosh, however, saved the situation. Van Hout got a hand on Stephen Pearson’s cutback and Ghosh was there to clear the ball.

The lanky Dynamos custodian Van Hout rescued his team again in the 22nd minute, making a save at full stretch after Andrew Barisic’s cross popped up off defender Adil Khan, with Iain Hume’s follow-up header hitting the outside of the post.

Kerala were dominant at that stage and even had the ball in the net through Barisic, but it was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.

Delhi, however, weathered the storm and began to see more of the ball. They soon had a chance with Mads Junker firing a point-blank header directly at Kerala keeper David James.

The game became more end-to-end, but the half ended scoreless.

The second half started with the teams trading possession. Delhi came closest to scoring, with birthday boy Del Piero’s flicked header sending Robert Lalthamuana through on goal, but while his chip beat keeper James, it was well wide of the post.

Kerala coach Trevor Morgan made his intentions clear when he brought on striker Milagres Gonsalves on to join Barisic and Hume in a three-pronged attack. But there were still no clear chances for either side, although Delhi went close through Bruno Arias.

Kerala and Delhi continued to probe each other in search of an opening goal, and there were promising moments at either end.

The visitors nearly snatched the winner when substitute Pavel Elias had a free header from a corner, but his effort was wide. It was to be the last action of a closely-fought match.

Delhi play FC Goa at home on November 13 while Kerala’s next fixture is a home match against Mumbai City FC on November 12.

Kerala Blasters made three changes from their previous match starting line-up, with Nirmal Chettri, Iain Hume and Andrew Barisic coming in for CS Sabeeth, Colin Falvey and Raphael Romey.

Delhi Dynamos, on the other hand, made four changes by bringing in del Piero, Hans Mulder, Adil Khan and Robert Lalthlamuana for Gulstave dos Santos, Pavel Elias, Steven Dias and Souvik Chakraborthy.

Kerala Blasters hold Atletico de Kolkata to 1-1 draw

A depleted Atletico de Kolkata, without star forward Fikru Teferra, put up a spirited show but could not score that elusive winner settling for a 1-1 draw against a lucky Kerala Blasters FC in their fifth ISL encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium, here on Sunday.

Atletico maintained their top position in the league table with 11 points from five games while Blasters earned their first point in third game.

Baljit Sahni gave the lead in the 22nd minute with a powerful angular right-footer beating David James’ outstretched hands.

Minutes later, Atletico could have easily doubled the lead when Jofre gathered a good long ball on the left flank and crossed it to their sole striker Arnal Llibert near the six-yard box but it was blocked by the KBFC defender Cedric Hengbart much to the home team’s dismay.

Just when Atletico looked to press further KBFC struck the equaliser from nowhere with former Championship goal poacher Iain Hume again being the scorer, when he converted the opportunity with a smart finish beating a surging Subhasish Roy Chowdhury in the 41st minute of the match.

Luck too deserted Atletico as they failed to bring up the winner despite a superb effort by Baljit who clearly had a field day in absence of their star players.

It was the horizontal that came to Blasters’ rescue after a stunning shot by Baljit in the six-yard box went past an aerial James only to hit the woodwork.

There were some last minute drama with Atletico pressing for the winner but the 6 feet 5 inches tall James ensured that Blasters returned with a point.

No sooner the equaliser came in the Atletico players started indulging in rough play with tough tackles becoming the order of the day.

Kingshuk Debnath nearly missed a yellow or may be a red after jabbing Stephen Pearson whose shin guard came out after the tackle as referee A Rowan failed to spot it.

But Atletico had their share of yellow cards after Baljit and substitute Rakesh Masih were cautioned in the second-half.

Suspension blow meant that ATK had a string of changes both in the starting XI and in the officials bench where assistant coach Angel Diaz Barrachina supervised the proceedings in place of marquee manager Antonio Habas (four-match suspension) and goalkeeping coach Predipkumar Bhaktawer (one match).

The absence of their mercurial forward Fikru (two-match) meant Llibert started up front, while Debnath too began in the right back in place of Denzil Franco (injury) as the team also brought in goalkeeper Subhasish, who sat out against FC Goa in place of Edel.

Their marquee player Luis Garcia who is recovering from a hamstring injury too failed to make the 18 as ATK had to field five foreigners in the XI.

But what remained unchanged was their 4-2-3-1 formation with Arnal taking the place of Fikru as a solitary attacking forward.

Their measured passing and compact display too remained the same way even as Atletico hit hard by the suspension blues, were cautious to start with against a team that struggled for possession and had Canadian recruit Iain Hume as the one-man Army with little support from the rest.

The watchful Kolkata franchise relied mostly on the counterattacks and the deadlock was broken near the half-an hour mark after a great team effort by Jofre Mateu and Borja Fernandez led to Baljit’s first goal of the ISL.

It was a selfless play by the Spanish duo to give the perfect chance to Baljit and the Indian youngster did not disappoint slamming home the lead.