Bambolim (Goa) [India], February 21 (ANI): Kerala Blasters on Sunday spoiled Chennaiyin FC’s desires of finishing the season on a high after holding them to a thrilling 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League at GMC Stadium, Bambolim.
Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev gave Chennaiyin a lead in the 10th minute which was cancelled out by Gary Hooper’s 29th-minute goal from the spot. Csaba Laszlo’s side finished the season with 20 points from 20 games.
Chennaiyin got off to an electrifying start and created numerous chances in the opening minutes of the match. Anirudh Thapa fired a shot in the first minute forcing Kerala keeper Albino Gomes into an early save.
After nearly creating half-a-dozen chances, the Marina Machans were successful in breaking the deadlock. Bakary Kone’s header fell to Edwin Vanspaul, who played it over the left flank to find Fatkhulloev. The forward cut inside before unleashing a powerful strike that beat Gomes.
Chennaiyin almost scored their second but Enes Sipovic saw his header hit the crossbar.
Kerala gained momentum in the second quarter and during this period, they pressed their opponents high, putting them under pressure.
After sustaining a good spell in Chennaiyin territory, Kerala earned a penalty when Deepak Tangri was the culprit of handling the ball in the area. Hooper ensured he converted the spot-kick to get his team on level terms.
Hooper nearly put his team ahead before the break. Lalruatthara diverted Jeakson Singh’s lobbed pass into the path of Hooper at the edge of the box. However, his chip shot sailed over the crossbar.
The second half saw a more balanced play as both teams had identical possession and passes. They matched each other with a much-relaxed game plan. Though there were chances being created, it was Vishal Kaith coming with a crucial save to keep the scoreline level.
Hooper’s cross at the far post found Jordan Murray whose header was parried away by Kaith.
Chennaiyin was reduced to 10 men after Sipovic got his marching orders.
Prasanth Karuthadathkuni swiveled away from Sipovic. The defender unwittingly stamped Prasanth’s foot and the referee deemed that to be bad enough for a second yellow.
Having numerical advantage, Kerala kept searching for the match-winner. Jessel Carneiro struck a goal-bound shot from a distance, but Kaith’s brilliance denied the ball from entering the goal.
Chennaiyin defended well in the final few minutes of the game to end their season with a draw. (ANI)
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Vinesh Phogat wins gold at Ukraine wrestling event
Kyiv [Ukraine], February 28 (ANI): Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat on Sunday won the gold medal in the women’s 53-kg category at XXIV Outstanding Ukrainian Wrestlers and Coaches Memorial in Kyiv.
Vinesh Phogat defeated world number seven Vanesa Kaladzinskaya of Belarus in the finals to win the gold medal and make a winning return to her first competitive outing since the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
“It is a winning return for #TOPSAthlete @Phogat_Vinesh as she wins the gold medal in the women’s 53 kg at the #OutstandingUkrainianWrestlersAndCoachesMemorial event after beating World #7 and 2017 World Champion Vanesa Kaladzinskaya 10-8 in the final,” SAI Media tweeted.
The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medalist had defeated Romania’s Ana A by fall in the semi-final on Saturday to reach the summit clash.
Vinesh has already booked a place in the Tokyo Olympics for the 53kg category.
Now, the 26-year-old will be seen in action in the season’s first ranking tournament from March 4-7 in Rome. (ANI)
Pedri pulled muscle in his left leg, to be monitored: Barcelona
Barcelona [UK], February 28 (ANI): Spanish club Barcelona FC on Sunday provided an injury update on Pedri after the midfielder was seen arriving at the club’s hotel on crutches.
Pedri had gone off the field with an injury to his left leg during Barcelona’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in La Liga on Saturday, reported Goal.com.
“The medical evaluation and tests carried out this morning have shown that the first team player Pedri has a pulled muscle in his left leg. His recovery will be monitored,” Barcelona said in its official statement.
Barcelona will now take on Sevilla on Wednesday in the second-leg of the Copa Del Rey semi-final.
Ronald Koeman’s side trails 0-2 from the first-leg. The side is now back in La Liga title race and the club trails Atletico Madrid by just two points.
La Liga is the best chance for Barcelona to win a title as the side trails Paris Saint-Germain 1-4 in the Champions League after the first-leg debacle.
The second leg for the round-of-16 match will take place on March 10. (ANI)
Narine not ready to return to international cricket: Roger Harper
St John’s [Antigua], February 28 (ANI): West Indies chief selector Roger Harper has said that spinner Sunil Narine has indicated that he is still not ready to return to international cricket.
Narine has not been included in West Indies’ squad for three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka. The spinner had played four games for Trinidad and Tobago in the Super50 Cup but he missed Saturday’s final through injury.
“Sunil Narine had indicated earlier that he is not ready to return to international cricket. He is still fine-tuning his game and getting himself ready. From that perspective, he was not considered for this series,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies’ lead selector as saying.
Narine has not played for West Indies in any format since August 2019. He was also placed on a ‘warning list’ amid suspicions of an illegal bowling action during last year’s IPL.
Later on IPL 2020, Narine was cleared to bowl but has since been cleared to bowl. In Narine’s absence, Akeal Hosein, Kevin Sinclair and Fabian Allen will be West Indies’ main spin options in the upcoming T20I matches against Sri Lanka.
West Indies also named Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo in their T20 squad for the series against Sri Lanka.
The T20 World Cup is set to be played later this year in India in October-November and the duo is likely to have that tournament as their swansong before retiring. (ANI)
Indian skeet mixed teams disappoint in Cairo Shotgun World Cup
New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): The two Indian pairs in the Skeet Mixed Team competition at the ongoing International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup Shotgun stage, in Cairo, Egypt, missed out on a chance to compete for medals, eventually finishing seventh and 10th respectively.
Parinaaz Dhaliwal and Mairaj Ahmad Khan finished with a combined effort of 137 out of 150 in qualification. Russia team one and the Czech Republic made it to the bronze medal match with scores of 138.
The second Indian pair of Ganemat Sekhon and Angad Bajwa, shot 134 to finish in the 10th spot. Russia team two won the Gold in the event beating Poland team two 35-31 in the final.
Russian teams thereby swept all the three golds in the Skeet team competitions, helping it top the medals tally. India has picked up one bronze medal in the Men’s Team event, from the Skeet discipline, which concluded on Saturday.
In all, 10 nations including India have won medals so far. After a day’s break, Monday will see the start of the Trap competitions. (ANI)
Indian Women’s League 2020-21 to be hosted in Odisha
New Delhi [India], February 28 (ANI): The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Sunday confirmed Odisha as the venue for the forthcoming Indian Women’s League (IWL) 2020-21 edition.
The dates for the tournament will be announced soon. AIFF appreciated Odisha Government’s longstanding partnership with Indian Football wherein the latter have been providing its stadia and state of the art training facilities to national teams across various age groups and genders – all in an effort to take Indian Football forward together.
Praful Patel, President, AIFF in his statement said: “The Government of Odisha has been a great supporter of Indian Football. We are very thankful to Naveen Patnaik, Vishal Kumar Dev, Vineel Krishna, and the entire Sports Department of Odisha for extending all the support & help to organise the Hero Indian Women’s League. Over the years, the tournament has provided the platform for a lot of budding women footballers to showcase their talent and provide them the option of taking up football as a career.”
The AIFF stays committed to the development of women’s football in the country. India is scheduled to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022 which will be followed by the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2022. The 2020-21 Hero IWL, will hence, provide an opportunity for scouts to look at, and unearth new talent for the Women’s National Team.
Tushar Kanti Behera, Minister of State, Sports and Youth Services, Odisha, in his message, said: “Holistic development of sports in India, and Indian football, in particular, is Odisha Sports’ vision. Odisha has been synonymous with women’s football in India for a long. I am an ardent supporter of women’s empowerment, and the hosting of the Indian Women’s League in Odisha allows us the opportunity to contribute to the development of women’s football in the country along with the All India Football Federation. Women sportspersons in India have been bringing huge laurels for the country and I am confident our women footballers will garner more glory in the near future.”
Since the pandemic, Indian Football has been leading it from the front to bring back sporting action in India. It all started with the Hero I-League Qualifiers which were followed by the ongoing Hero Indian Super League and the Hero I-League.
Indian women’s football has also had its fair exposure at the International stage in recent times with the senior women’s team assembling for a two-month training camp on December 1, 2020, in Goa which was followed by three matches in Turkey, against Serbia, Russia, and Ukraine. (ANI)
Surreal feeling to be playing tournaments again: Paddler Mudit
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], February 28 (ANI): Paddler Mudit Dani is all set to take on Finland’s Olah Benedek in the men’s singles qualifying round one as the international table tennis tournaments kick-off for the 2021 season with the World Table Tennis (WTT) Contender Doha later today.
While a long lay off away from the sport due to pandemic, the Doha tournament will be a different experience for all the players as they resume playing on the international circuit.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling to restart over here. I feel the same butterflies in my stomach when I played my first ever senior tournament. Though this time I’m more prepared. And it’s a surreal feeling to be back here where I played the tournament [Qatar Open] just before the pandemic hit the world,” Mudit said in an official release.
Mudit revealed that during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, the 20-year-old worked on his technique and fitness.
“The break gave me an opportunity to work a lot on strength training, technique, body movements, and physical aspects. I also worked on my third-ball technique and service receive. That is something I look forward to seeing how it works out in the game,” Mudit, who clinched his first senior international media in US Open last year, said.
The third-ball attack is a trick players use to gain points while serving through utilising the return ball. Achanta Sharath Kamal, Gnanasekaran Sathiyan, Manika Batra and Sutirtha Mukherjee are among the 13 Indians who will be seen in action at the WTT Contender Doha. (ANI)
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