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Update Indian Super League 2020-21: Match news/ updates
#1

Roy Krishna’s solitary goal fires Mohun Bagan to victory over Kerala Blasters on ISL debut

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ATK Mohun Bagan’s Indian Super League debut went exactly the way the I-League champions wanted as the Mariners won 1-0 against Kerala Blasters FC in tournament opener in Goa on Friday.

The team, playing with a set core from last year champions ATK under coach Antonio Habas, played the disciplined football they are known for, absorbing attacks of possession-loving KBFC to hit back at counter. ATKMB evidently had more attacks than Kibu Vicuna’s side and their defend-and-attack-on-the-counter approach finally paid off in the 68th minute with Krishna’s left-footed cracker.

The goal came against the run of play when Roy Krishna latched on to a loose ball inside the box, after a poor clearance by KBFC mdfielder Cidoncha off a substitute Manvir Singh’s cross from the right, and shot it past Albino Gomes to the bottom corner.

In the first half, both the sides seemed cagey and were cautious to draw first blood in their attempt to avoid the counter punch.

Expectedly, former Bagan coach Vicuna and side enjoyed most of the possession with the midfielders involved in the build up. However, playing with a new squad, it was clear that Kerala Blasters were yet to find their winning combination. Centre attacking midfielder Sahal Samad and right wing Ritwick Das showed flashes of brilliance but were not productive as KB managed just one shot inside the box.

ATKMB, on the other hand, played to their strength by maintaining a tight midfield and defensive line in a diamond formation with three centre backs.

The team enjoyed five clear cut chances on the counter with high pressing but Roy Krisha and attackers couldn’t make them count.

ATKMB were also handed an early blow as Michael Soosairaj, who looked threatening on the counter in the early stages, hopped off the field with an injury.

Subhasish Bose did came in for Soosairaj but he couldn’t make the same impact attacking wise and that reflected in Bagan’s attack with no threat coming from the left wing.

Post break, KB came out as a much-improved side as their attacks moved closer to the box unlike first half. Gary Hooper’s involvement too got better with the whim in attack but the sharp moves were still missing.

In the 50th minute, KB had a clear opening with Nongdamba Naorem split opening EB defense from left wing. His cross landed in front of Samad, who couldn’t control the ball properly to unleash a shot despite being alone on the far post.

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#2

ISL 2020-21: New-look Mumbai City aiming for fresh start against NorthEast United

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A revamped Mumbai City FC with 19 new recruits and a Spanish coach with a proven track record, will be aiming to set things in order at the onset when they take on NorthEast United in an Indian Super League game on Saturday.

Mumbai City have never won the coveted trophy and would be hoping that there is a turnaround in fortune under new coach Sergio Lobera, who had guided FC Goa to Super Cup win in 2019 apart from his contribution in an ISL runners-up finish despite several run-ins with his old club.

Lobera during the pre-season media meet had advocated attacking brand of football but said the team needed to strike a balance between attack and defence.

"It is very important to play attacking football. Obviously, we need balance. In football, it's not possible only to attack, you need balance between attack and defence," Lobera had said.

Mumbai have two good strikers in Bartholomew Ogbeche and Adam Le Fondre who can prove to be more than handful for any opposition. The team has roped in utility midfielders like Ahmed Jahouh, England-born Japanese Cy Goddard and their roles as feeders will be important in the larger context of the game.

Lobera has multiple options in Farukh Choudhary, Hugo Boumous, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes, Rowllin Borges and Pranjal Bhumij among others. The inclusion of Mandar Rao Dessai has bolstered the team's defence and he coupled with the likes of Sarthak Golui, Senegalese Mourtada Fall and Mohamad Rakip are ready thwart any attacking line-up.

On the other hand, NorthEast United FC under new coach Gerard Nus, would also be aiming for redemption after a poor last season.

No wonder, 'The Highlanders' will expect their foreign players to pull their weight with much depending on former Anderlecht and Queens Park Rangers striker Idrissa Sylla and former Ghanaian international Kwesi Appaiah.

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#3

ISL 2020-21: FC Goa set to begin campaign against Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru

[Image: chhetri-isl-1574526999-1605956159.jpg]

A new-look FC Goa, strengthened by the addition of fresh foreign players and a new head coach, will begin their Indian Super League campaign with renewed vigour when they clash with formidable Bengaluru FC here on Sunday.

FC Goa have never won the coveted ISL trophy and would be hoping that this time around they go one step forward than 2018 and 2015 seasons, when they emerged as runners-up.

But it won't be an easy task for coach Juan Ferrando, who wants the club to continue playing attacking brand of football, which they also displayed under their previous coach Sergio Lobera.

"We would continue to play attacking brand of football, playing the game on the front foot. That is the philosophy of the club and that is what really attracted me to the job. It is aligned with the kind of football I believe in," Ferrando said.

FC Goa, who won the League Winners Shield last season to become the first side from India to qualify for the group stage of the AFC Champions League, have parted ways with the likes of star forwards Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous, who have established themselves as feared goal scorers in the ISL over the years.

They have added a few quality players, both domestic and foreign, and their familiarity with the home conditions will come in handy in their bid to at least reach the play-offs stage.

FC Goa would bank on their Spanish lethal striker Igor Angulo to prove his mettle right from the beginning. The coach has options in other forwards like Aaren D'Silva, Devendra Murgaonkar, Ishan Pandita and Makan Chothe, to choose from, to support Angulo.

Goa have an array of strong mid-fielders, the prominent being skipper Edu Bedia, who can decide the fate of the game. Also, the likes of India international Brandon Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues, Albert Noguera, and Jorge Ortiz will have to play their role as feeders.

The departure of utility mid-fielders like Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous would put more pressure on Noguera, who will have to establish himself as a link between Bedia and Angulo.

Then there are defenders Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie, apart from other local defenders, to man the line and thwart the opposition attack.

Ferrando, in the pre-match press conference, described their first opponents as a "very good team" but insisted that the team had a positive mentally.

He also said the team needs to forget the past record. "I thinking about my team now, I know about the history about Bengaluru and Goa. But this is new team and new chapter. We need to forget the past, the most important thing is to think about our team," the head coach said.

Edu said the team has prepared well for this game and that Bengaluru was a mentally and physically strong side.

Their mid-fielder Lenny Rodrigues said this season would be different since they have a new coach. On the other hand, Bengaluru who have won the ISL once, would also be hoping for a winning start and the contribution of star striker Sunil Chhetri would be the key.

The Bengaluru team boasts of a well-rounded unit and will be a tough opponent first up. The high-prolific Chhetri can turn a game on its head singlehandedly and with a strong support cast, BFC will be hard to get by.

Another important cog in BFC's wheel is experienced custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, who kept the record of 11 clean sheets last season. His role would be equally important as that of Chhetri. Bengaluru are also expected to play strikers Cleiton Silva and Kristian Opseth,

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#4

Plucky NorthEast United spoil Sergio Lobera's Mumbai City bow

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Kwesi Appiah scored from the spot as NorthEast United FC began their Indian Super League campaign with a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC here on Saturday.

A red card and a penalty turned a game, that Mumbai were otherwise dominating, on its head and handed NorthEast United FC a winning start at the Tilak Maidan.

Appiah (49') scored the only goal from a penalty after the Islanders were reduced to 10-men following Ahmed Jahouh's red card just before the breather.

In the early stages, it looked like NorthEast were aiming for nothing more than a goalless draw, with extreme caution visible in their game plan.

Predictably, it was Mumbai who dominated the first half. The Islanders were neat and proactive for long spells, though they were unable to find a cutting edge.

Despite having players like Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Rowllin Borges, all capable of creating magic on their day, Sergio Lobera's side failed to get a single shot on target in the first 45 minutes.

They did hold the lion's share of the possession that occasionally resulted in hopeful efforts. In the 12th minute, Adam le Fondre's cross from the right wing found striker Bartholomew Ogbeche. The resulting effort though was intercepted by NorthEast defender Ashutosh Mehta.

In the next few minutes, an Ogbeche header went over the bar while Jahouh took two attempts from distance. A clear-cut chance though was still eluding Lobera's men.

Then, the match took an unexpected turn as Jahouh, who was dictating things from midfield, was sent off with a straight red, a couple of minutes before half time. His offence was a studs-up challenge on NorthEast's Khassa Camara.

Gerard Nus' men capitalised on their numerical advantage soon after the restart. The Highlanders were awarded a penalty in the 49th minute when the ball struck Borges' arm after NorthEast’s Dylan Fox had headed in a short corner. Appiah sent keeper Amrinder Singh in wrong direction.

With Mumbai now under pressure, NorthEast took control over the game with Khumanthem Meetei and Appiah making regular inroads. Lobera made a tactical change replacing Ogbeche with Stephen Goddard, giving Le Fondre a central role up front.

Mumbai had a rare opportunity in the 65th minute when Sarthak got his head to a cross, but his effort sailed inches over the bar. Lobera's team kept knocking on the door in the final quarter, but an equaliser eluded them.

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#5

Our style of play is non-negotiable: Mumbai City boss Sergio Lobera after 1-0 loss to NorthEast United

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After Sergio Lobera's reign at Mumbai City got off on the wrong foot on Saturday with a 1-0 loss to NorthEast United, the Spaniard said that his attack oriented possession-based game was non-negotiable.

"Our style of play is non-negotiable. I used some players in different positions from what they are used, for example Adam in right wing but I believe he has the experience to adjust. We have to improve a lot of course," Lobera told media after the match.

Mumbai went in with two strikers up front with Adam Le Fondre playing as a makeshift right winger along with Bartholomew Ogbeche. The Englishman created some good chances in the first half but a red card to midfield mainstay Ahmed Jahouh and Rowllin Borges conceding a penalty in the second meant at Mumbai ended up losing the match 1-0.

It also means that Jahouh will now miss Mumbai's next match against the reigning ISL Shield winners FC Goa.

"Today (the red card) was a big problem for us. It changed the game, we were playing with 10 men and missing a very important player. But for the next game, I have 28 players, I am very happy with my squad. Just one player is not an excuse for losing the next game," said Lobera.

"We need to improve, we had a short pre-season and have a short time between games. But it is my job to improve the level of the team and I am very positive that it is possible for the next game."

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#6

Igor Angulo's brace helps FC Goa hold Bengaluru FC to 2-2 draw

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Spanish striker Igor Angulo's double strike scripted FC Goa's spectacular comeback as they held Bengaluru FC to a 2-2 draw in an Indian Super League encounter, here on Sunday.

For Bengaluru, Cleiton Silva (27') and Juanan Gonzalez (57') scored and till the hour mark, Sunil Chhetri's men looked on course for an easy win.

Goa dominated possession early on, with Bengaluru happy to sit back and maintain their defensive shape. However, both teams failed to create clear-cut opportunities in the opening quarter.

Bengaluru registered their first shot on goal in the 11th minute when Ashique Kuruniyan cut inside from the left, beating three men, before switching onto his weaker right foot.

However, his tame attempt was comfortably collected by Goa custodian Mohammad Nawaz.

Three minutes before the half-hour mark, the visitors got their lead in unusual fashion, a throw-in creating confusion in the Goa box.

Harmanjot Khabra's throw from the left was flicked on towards the face of goal after Jorge Ortiz Mendoza's clearance. Silva was the first to react and headed home to hand Bengaluru the lead.

It wasn't until the 45th minute that Goa got their first shot on goal. Seriton Fernandes' cross found Angulo, whose deft flick went straight to Bengaluru keeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

The visitors made one change after the change of ends, with Deshorn Brown replacing Kristian Opseth.

Bengaluru soon doubled their lead and it came through a set-piece again, with Juanan getting on the scoresheet - the club's 100th goal in ISL history.

Goa's defence was caught napping as a free-kick by Kuruniyan was nodded on by Brown towards Erik Paartalu.

The Australian headed the ball onto Gonzalez's path. The Spaniard made no mistake from close range and scored on the volley.

Goa made two attacking substitutions around the hour mark, bringing on Brandon Fernandes and Alberto Noguera, and soon found their way back in to the contest with two goals from Angulo in the space of three minutes.

Angulo first cut short the deficit with a neat finish (66th) following lovely link-up play between Fernandes and Noguera.

The striker then chested a ball into the net for the equaliser (69th )after substitute Alexander Jesuraj played a square pass from the right.

Mendoza had a chance to score the winner for Goa in injury time. However, his shot was kept away by Sandhu.

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#7

Chennaiyin FC face old mastermind's challenge in Jamshedpur colours

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Chennaiyin FC will have their task cut out as they go up against two individuals who charted their stunning comeback last season but will turn out for Jamshedpur FC in their Indian Super League game here on Tuesday.

Chennaiyin fans will find not one, but three of their former heroes in the opposing dug-out when their team takes on Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.

Coach Owen Coyle was the mastermind behind last season's stunning recovery that saw Chennaiyin go from rock bottom to within a game of the ISL title.

But over the summer, he made the decision to sign for Jamshedpur FC, taking along with him last season's joint top-scorer and golden boot winner Nerijus Valskis. Also joining Coyle was Mizo defender Laldinliana Renthlei, who wore Chennaiyin's blue for a couple of seasons.

Coyle, no doubt, knows the players that he left behind really well, but the Scot doesn't believe that's an advantage.

"Obviously, we know their strengths," he said.

"But I've always felt that when you come up against your old team, players who have played for you before, they want to show you they're still the top players that you believed they were. So we'll be very respectful of them."

The signing of Valskis will no doubt add teeth to Jamshedpur's attack. But Coyle will be aware that more pressing problems lie elsewhere.

Jamshedpur conceded 35 goals last season with only Hyderabad FC having a more porous defence. It remains to be seen whether the presence of former Sunderland defender Peter Hartley and Nigerian centre-back Stephen Eze will improve things in this regard.

For Chennaiyin, the biggest task will be to fill the gaps left behind by departing players. Of the foreign contingent from last season, only new captain Rafael Crivellaro and defender Eli Sabia remain.

New coach Csaba Laszlo will hope that fresh recruits like Slovak forward Jakub Sylvestr and Bosnian defender Enes Sipovic can help fill these gaps.

Jamshedpur fans will also find a familiar face in the Chennaiyin ranks — Brazilian defender Memo played for their side last season.

Despite all the additions, a familiar face will be expected to bear a lot of the burden — Crivellaro, who created more chances (52) than anyone else in the league.

"I'm very happy and honoured to be the captain," he said.

"But for me, nothing changes, my style or the way that I play football. The most important thing is to make good assists for my strikers."

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#8

Hyderabad FC begin ISL 2020-21 campaign with 1-0 win over Odisha FC

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Debutant Aridane Santana scored from the penalty spot as Hyderabad FC began their Indian Super League campaign with a solitary goal win over Odisha FC here on Monday.

Santana converted the spot kick in the 35th minute as Hyderabad kept their first-ever clean sheet in the league in their second season.

Hyderabad were all over Odisha's territory in the opening minutes of the game, forcing their opponents to play deep. They won a series of corners in the first 10 minutes and nearly capitalised on them.

The Nizams' first real chance came in the sixth minute when Lluis Sastre whipped a perfect delivery into the box but Santana failed to direct his header towards goal.

That the visitors had worked on their set-pieces was evident. A smartly-executed corner in the 10th minute saw Akash Mishra force Odisha goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh into a save.

Odisha looked to play their normal game, maintaining possession and carrying the fight to their opponents. But they were a little too predictable and Hyderabad's defenders were able to deal with them without too much discomfort.

After constant probing, Hyderabad got their reward in the form of a penalty. Santana played Halicharan Narzary clear on goal, and his effort was handled by Odisha skipper Steven Taylor. Santana kept his composure and slotted home before the half-time break.

Hyderabad keeper Subrata Paul had to wait until the 40th minute to make his first save, thwarting Odisha striker Manuel Onwu. The Nizams had chances to extend their lead but the outstanding Singh made a couple of good saves just before the breather.

Minutes after the restart, Odisha had their best opportunity to restore parity. But Nandhakumar Sekar's poor first touch allowed Mishra to make a crucial goal-saving tackle.

At the hour mark, Odisha had yet another chance. Diego Mauricio went past his marker and squared a pass into the area to Onwu, whose low shot was kept out by Paul.

Hyderabad almost doubled the lead from a set-piece but Joao Victor's goal was rightly ruled offside.

Liston Colaco, who constantly troubled the Odisha defence, almost produced a moment of magic in the 67th minute when he dribbled from the half-way mark into the box but was unable to finish.

In the end, though, the misses did not matter, as Hyderabad held on for the win.

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#9

Anirudh Thapa's first minute strike sets up Chennaiyin's 2-1 win over Jamshedpur

[Image: new-project-2020-11-24t232621-1606240604.jpg]

India international Anirudh Thapa scored in the first minute to set up Chennaiyin FC's 2-1 win over Jamshedpur FC in an Indian Super League match here on Tuesday.

Thapa's early strike coupled with a penalty goal from Esmael Goncalves (26th) ensured that Chennaiyin began their campaign with a win.

Last season's golden boot winner Nerijus Valskis (37th) pulled one back but a string of misses ensured that Jamshedpur boss Owen Coyle started the season with a defeat against the team he managed last season.

Thapa got the game off to an electrifying start, scoring in the very first minute. Rafael Crivellaro won the ball and found Goncalves on the right flank and his low cross was powered into the net by the India midfielder.

The next few minutes made it evident what sort of a game this was going to be. Jamshedpur's English defender Peter Hartley wasted a golden opportunity to draw his team level in the seventh minute and headed a free-kick wide off the target.

Three minutes later, Goncalves found himself one-on-one with opposition custodian TP Rehenesh but failed to find the target.

Lallianzuala Chhangte missed a chance to score in the 20th minute. His first touch, as he received Crivellaro's excellent pass, took the ball away and the subsequent effort was pushed behind by Rehenesh.

But, he made amends five minutes later, drawing a push from Isaac Vanmalsawma inside the box and winning a penalty. Goncalves did not make a mistake from the spot.

Chennaiyin enjoyed a spell of domination soon after the second goal. With Hartley off injured, Jamshedpur's defence looked to be there for the taking.But a familiar face had different ideas.

In the 37th minute, Valskis headed in Jackichand Singh's cross and reacted with folded hands, almost as if he was apologising to fans of his former team.

The second half started off with both teams creating chances in the first 10 minutes.

Chennaiyin forward Jakub Sylvestr wasted the best of them, firing a Chhangte cross over the bar.

At the other end, Jamshedpur were pushing hard for the equaliser. Stephen Eze should have headed home in the 64th minute but missed the target while Jackichand failed to capitalise on an error by Chennaiyin keeper Vishal Kaith four minutes later.

Jamshedpur were left to rue their misses as Chennaiyin held on for the win.

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#10

Free-flowing football on cards in ISL match between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC

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Stunned by NorthEast United in their opening match, Mumbai City FC would look to bounce back when they take on FC Goa in an Indian Super League match, which is expected to produce free-flowing football here on Wednesday.

For Mumbai City head coach Sergio Lobera, it will be the first time he will be up against his former club which he guided to League Winners Shield last season and to the group stage of AFC Champions League.

The match is expected to see a lot of passes. Lobera has long been known for getting his players to spray the ball all around the pitch. During his stint as FC Goa coach, he averaged 535 passes per match.

Lobera has not been with this Mumbai team for long, but he has already started getting them to stick to his philosophy.

Despite losing 0-1 to NorthEast United, 10-men Mumbai City had more than 60 per cent possession and completed 451 passes to their opponents' 217. No team has passed more in the league so far.

One team has come close though -- Juan Ferrando's FC Goa. In the 2-2 draw against Bengaluru FC, they completed 448 passes, more than twice what their opponents had managed.

Lobera, despite the loss, is happy with how the team is playing and believes that it is only a matter of time before goals start coming.

"We are the team with the most passes till now. You cannot just consider the shots on target statistics. We did some things very well. We played with 10 players and still dominated the game. But still, we need to improve," he said.

The Mumbai City coach will be without Ahmed Jahouh, arguably his most influential player, but believes his team can compensate for that.

"As a coach, I have good players and I am not scared of missing some of them," Lobera said.

Moroccan Jahouh was sent off with the referee showing a direct red card for his first-half reckless tackle on NorthEast United FC player Khassa Camara in the match on November 21.

For FC Goa coach Juan Ferrando, who turned the game around against Bengaluru FC with two brilliant second-half substitutions, worrying about what the opponent can do is a waste of time.

"My focus is on my team and I am not thinking about the opposition," he said.

"The most important thing is to be positive, competitive, and win three points. Against Mumbai or any other team, our mentality will be the same -- win three points."

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