I-League: Clinical NEROCA FC keep top 6 hopes alive with win over Sudeva Delhi - The Daily Guardian
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I-League: Clinical NEROCA FC keep top 6 hopes alive with win over Sudeva Delhi

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], February 19 (ANI): NEROCA FC gave themselves a fighting chance in the race to finish in the top 6 by beating Sudeva Delhi FC by 2-0 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday.
Goals by Judah Garcia and super-substitute Songpu Singsit ensured a victory for Gift Raikhan’s side in a hard-fought game against the I-League newcomers.
NEROCA had the first sight of goal in the 7th minute, as Judah Garcia dispossessed Naorem Tondomba and his long-distance attempt hit the side-netting of Rakshit Dagar’s goal. On the other end, Sudeva’s Naorem Mahesh threaded a through pass for Shubho Paul, but NEROCA’s custodian Bishorjit Singh came off his line to collect it.
Sudeva were handed the opportunity to take the lead on a golden platter when Jiteshwor Singh brought down Mahesh in the penalty area. However, Kean Lewis’ spot-kick in the 12th minute was pushed away by Bishorjit Singh, saving his teammate’s blushes. Seconds later, Mahesh blasted Lewis’ cutback from a free-kick high of the goal.
Gift Raikhan’s side did get an opportunity to strike in the 13th minute after Judah Garcia brought down Lungdim’s cross, but was unable to take his shot. The loose ball, however, fell to Subash Singh, who hit his shot wide of the target. The game died down a little in terms of opportunities as Sudeva started to hold the majority of the possession.
Sudeva’s Shaiborg Kharpan was brought down just outside the area by Bishorjit Singh in a one-on-one on the 37th minute. Luckily for the keeper, the young striker’s touch was heavy and he earned just a yellow card for his tackle. Mahesh’s shot from the following free-kick looped into the hands of a grateful Bishorjit Singh after it hit the wall.
Sudeva went on to create chances but lacked quality in the final third. They were punished on the 45th minute as NEROCA quickly took a free-kick in their own half. Judah Garcia was at the end of a Khaiminthang Lhungdim’s cross on the quick break and the Trinidadian powered his header past Rakshit Dagar, giving the Orange Brigade the lead just before half-time.
Rakshit Dagar saved Sudeva Delhi from falling further behind in the 53rd minute. The keeper showcased quick reflexes to deny Judah after the goalscorer had dispossessed Gursimrat Gill off the ball in the penalty area. Meanwhile, Sudeva kept attacking and came close to the equaliser twice in the 57th minute.
Bishorjit Singh pulled off a brilliant save off Kharpan’s header from Naorem Mahesh’s corner before Deepak Singh cleared substitute Augustin Fernandes’ header off the line. Bisjorjit made another fine stop in the 65th minute when a William Pauliankhum set-piece was knocked into the path of Naocha Singh. The substitute was denied entry again by the NEROCA custodian.
With Sudeva overcommitting in the attack, NEROCA broke on the counter and Prakash Budhathoki stuck the crossbar after some good work by Judah Garcia. NEROCA finally found their safety goal in the 72nd minute when Songpu Singsit beat his defender and curled his shot past Rakshit Dagar from just inside the area.
Sudeva did have a couple of quality chances to pull a goal back. First with Lalliansanga, whose powerful effort from Pauliankhum’s cut-back inched wide the post in the 81st minute. Kharpan tried to latch on to Rostam Singh’s through ball in the 89th minute. However, Bishorjit read the pass and bravely intercepted the pass — capping off his Hero of the Match performance with a clean sheet.
Sudeva kept pushing till the final whistle searching for the goal. However, the NEROCA defence ensured they secure a 2-0 victory, giving the Orange Brigade a fighting chance for a place in the top 6 with two matches to go in the first phase of the league. (ANI)

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IPL gave us the platform to express: Rahane rubbishes Steyn’s comments

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 2 (ANI): The Indian Premier League (IPL) has not only provided uncapped Indian players an opportunity to showcase their talent against the best in the business, but also given overseas players a chance to make an impression. But Dale Steyn has said he turned his back on the IPL because he found the PSL and the Sri Lankan Premier League “slightly more rewarding as a player”.
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday rubbished all the claims which stated that sometimes the emphasis is on the money in the IPL rather than the game. Rahane, who has even captained teams in the showpiece event, said the IPL gave players the perfect platform to express themselves in the shortest format of the game.
“See, I am here to talk about the fourth Test match and not here to talk about PSL or Sri Lanka Premier League. IPL gave us that platform to express ourselves and also to a lot of Indians players. I am not sure what Dale Steyn has said, I am here to talk about this Test match,” said Rahane during a virtual press conference.
South Africa pacer Dale Steyn said that sometimes emphasis may be placed on the amount a player is bought for in the IPL and as a result, cricket ends up taking a backseat. He is currently playing for the Quetta Gladiators in the ongoing Pakistan Super League.
Meanwhile, Rahane confirmed that Umesh Yadav is good to go for the fourth Test as the pacer has faired well at the nets. “Umesh is ready to go, he is looking really good and he is bowling really well. He had a good session in the nets and we are really happy that he is back,” said Rahane.
A draw will seal India’s place in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) but Rahane insisted the hosts will go for the win in the fourth and final Test against England.
“We always look to win the Test match, we are not looking for a draw so this Test is no different. We are not focusing on what will happen in June. We are just focusing on this Test match,” said Rahane. (ANI)

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I-League: Real Kashmir FC, Churchill Brothers to kick start phase 2 on Friday

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Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], March 2 (ANI): The business end of the ongoing I-League, that is the second phase is all set to begin on Friday at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, where Real Kashmir FC and Churchill Brothers FC Goa will get the proceedings underway.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the matches in the I-League are being staged across four venues — the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, the Kishore Bharati Krirangan, and the Mohun Bagan Ground in Kolkata, and the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani, West Bengal.
The 11 clubs will continue to operate from within the bio-bubble in Kolkata. Based on the results in Phase one, the teams have been divided into two groups — Group A and B.
While the teams that finished in the top six spots in Phase I will move into Group A and will fight for the I-League title, those in the bottom five will be locked in a relegation battle in Group B. Both teams in the respective groups will face each other once in a round-robin format.
“This is a completely new format, something that no team in the I-League has experienced so far. Seeing how close the teams have been so far, we are definitely expecting an exciting fight on the cards — be it the fight to be crowned champions, or a relegation scrap. My best wishes to all the teams,” the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Leagues CEO Sunando Dhar said in a statement.
The action in Group A kicks off at the VYBK on Friday, with Real Kashmir FC taking on Churchill Brothers FC Goa, while that of Group B will begin on Saturday as Chennai City FC take on Sudeva Delhi FC. (ANI)

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Injured Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin ruled out until April

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Newcastle upon Tyne [UK], March 2 (ANI): Newcastle United on Tuesday announced that Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin will be out of action until April due to their respective injuries.
Both players picked injuries during the club’s Premier League clash against Wolves on Sunday (local time). The match had ended in a 1-1 draw.
“Newcastle United forwards Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin will be out of action until April after picking up injuries during the Magpies’ 1-1 draw with Wolves on Saturday,” the club said in a statement.
“Almiron sustained a knee injury and had to be replaced at half time, while Saint-Maximin suffered a groin injury in the 63rd minute,” it added.
The club said both will continue their rehabilitation with the club’s medical team. “Both have undergone scans and will continue their rehabilitation with the club’s medical team,” the statement read.
It is a major blow to the club as they are currently struggling in the Premier League. Newcastle United is placed in the 17th spot on the table at the moment with 26 points from as many games.
The side will next play against West Brom on March 7. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Pitch for 4th Test would be similar to second and third Test, says Rahane

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 2 (ANI): India’s Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday said that the pitch for the fourth Test against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium would be similar to the second and third Test.
India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the third Test at the same venue. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.
But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. India batsman Rohit Sharma clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams.
“The wicket would be similar to the third Test and also the second Test what we played in Chennai. The wicket would be similar, yes the pink ball made the difference, it was coming much quicker off the wicket as compared to the red ball. That was an adjustment we had to make but as I said the wicket would be a lot similar to the last two Test matches,” Rahane said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
“The pitch looks pretty similar, I do not know how it is going to play, we have to wait and see. We respect England, they are a very good and balanced team. We played really good cricket in the last two Tests. England played really well in the first Test, we are not taking them lightly. It is another Test match, we want to give our best. Even England will want to do well and win the Test match. For us, it is about playing as a unit and playing to our strengths,” he added.
When asked whether DRS has changed the approach of batsmen, Rahane replied: “I do not think so that the approach has changed because of the DRS. It’s all in the mind, DRS is really helping all the teams because you can review the decisions and take your chances. But I do not think mentally wise, as a batsmen especially, not many changes.
“It is important to play the line when the ball is turning, but with the pink ball, it was completely different. The ball was skidding on, the pace was different from the red ball. We have hardly played with the pink ball, this was our third game with it, we need to practice more with the pink ball. When you play on spinning tracks, it is all about playing the line,” he added. (ANI)

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Ishant was right, winning WTC would be like winning the World Cup: Rahane

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 2 (ANI): India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday echoed pacer Ishant Sharma’s emotions and said winning the World Test Championship (WTC) would be similar to winning the World Cup.
India currently has a 2-1 lead in the ongoing four-match series against England and if the hosts manage to win or draw the final Test, they would secure their berth in the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
“Absolutely, Ishant was spot on in what he said. Winning the WTC is equal to winning the World Cup. We are all focusing on that, having said that, the focus right now is to play the fourth Test against England. Ishant was completely right,” said Rahane while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
In the ongoing series against England, Rahane has managed to score just 85 runs and his highest score of 67 came in the second Test at Chepauk. India had managed to defeat England by ten wickets within two days in the pink-ball Test. The match saw both India and England batsmen failing to shine and getting out to balls that did not turn and skidded through from the spinners.
“When you play on spinning tracks, you have to play the line and you know that. In India, we haven’t played so many games in the last two-three years. When you play on that spinning and seaming wickets, it’s all about playing the line, when the ball is spinning too much, you do not have to think about it, you just have to play the line, if you miss the ball, you miss the ball. Backing your defence and ability on seaming and spinning wicket is something we follow,” said Rahane.
Earlier, pacer Ishant Sharma had said that the WTC is like a World Cup for him and if India goes on to win the Test championship, then it would be a similar feeling to winning the World Cup.
“I am just focused on how to win this series and qualify for the finals of the WTC. I just play one format, WTC is like a World Cup for me, if we play the finals and then we go on to win, the feeling would be the same as winning the World Cup or the Champions Trophy,” said Ishant during a virtual press conference ahead of the third Test against England. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng: Michael Vaughan takes a dig at the pitch ahead of fourth Test

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New Delhi [India], March 2 (ANI): Former England skipper Michael Vaughan on Tuesday, once again, took a dig at the wickets that have been prepared in the ongoing Test series between India and England.
Vaughan has been quite vocal in his criticism of the pitches used in the series and went a step further and asked for the ICC to look into the wickets prepared after the third game ended in two days.
Taking to Instagram, Vaughan on Tuesday shared a picture of him standing in dugup soil with a bat in his hands. “Preparations going well for the 4th Test !! #OnOn #INDvENG,” he wrote in the caption.
Riding on brilliant spells of spin bowling from Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin, India had registered a comprehensive 10-wicket win over England in the pink-ball Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium last week to go 2-1 up in the four-match series.
In the match, both India and England batsmen failed to shine. But critics have looked to blame the pitch for the failure of the batsmen. Commenting on the pitch during the match, Vaughan had tweeted: “Let’s be honest this is not a 5 day Test pitch !! #INDvENG.”
However, after the match, Rohit Sharma had clarified that he did not think the pitch had any demons. Even India skipper Virat Kohli was vocal about the dreadful batting display from the two teams.
If India manage to win or draw the final Test against England, then the side will qualify for the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) and they will take on New Zealand in the summit clash. The fourth Test will begin on Thursday. (ANI)

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