Category: Indian Super League

Bengaluru FC sign Spanish forward Manuel Onwu

Bengaluru: Indian Super League champions Bengaluru FC have completed the signing of Spanish striker Manuel Onwu Villafranca ahead of the 2019-20 season, the club announced on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old striker who becomes the 13th Spaniard to sign for the Blues, has put pen to paper on a one-year deal with the club having an option to extend it for another year.

“Having spent a fair bit of time playing in Spain, I was looking for a different experience. However, I wanted to join a strong project where we fight for ambitious goals. That’s the reason I’m very excited to join Bengaluru FC. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the club from many Spanish players in the league, and that helped me make a decision about coming here. I look forward to meeting my new teammates and hope to help the club build on their success from last season,” said Manuel after putting to paper.   

Welcoming him to the Blues fold, Coach Carles Cuadrat said, “Manuel comes in after a long playing career in Spain that includes playing at the very top. He will provide us with some good options in attack and we expect him to settle in easily. Of course, he isn’t a direct replacement for Miku, because we’re talking about two very different types of players. Manuel is a great professional, and his experiences will definitely make him a great addition to our squad.”

Born in Tudela, Manuel had youth spells with Club Atlético Valtierrano and CD Tudelano, making his senior debut with the latter in 2006. In 2007, Onwu signed with Osasuna B and had a couple of loan spells at CD Iruña (2007-08) and UD Alzira (2008) before returning to the reserve team of the La Liga side. While Manuel featured and netted regularly for Osasuna B in the Segunda B Division, he was called up to the first team and made his La Liga debut in March 2012.

Having played three seasons in the Spanish top flight and another one in the Segunda Division for Osasuna, Manuel had a brief spell in Georgia with FC Dinamo Tbilisi where he was part of the side that won the 2015 Georgian Cup. He returned to Spain the following season and featured for Lleida Esportiu (2015-16) and Lorca FC (2016-18) helping the latter to a promotion to Segunda Division in his first season. In January 2018, he moved to UCAM Murcia CF and featured regularly and in fact, was the top-scorer for theUniversitarios with 11 league goals in the 2018-19 season.

At Bengaluru, Manuel becomes the fourth Spaniard in the current squad joining Juanan Gonzalez, Dimas Delgado, and Albert Serran.

ISL 5: Tight match between Jamshedpur and NorthEast ends goalless

JAMSHEDPUR: Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC played out a goalless draw at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on Saturday. The match saw only one shot on target over the ninety minutes and it came from the visitors.

The point lifted the Highlanders to the second spot in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) table with 18 points from nine matches. Jamshedpur remained in the fourth spot and have 15 points from their 10 outings.

Both teams made a tentative start to the match and looked to maintain possession of the ball. The first chance fell to the home side on the ninth minute, after Memo found Pablo Morgado with a long pass from the midfield. The Spaniard took the shooting opportunity, but his effort was too high.

NorthEast hit back with a chance of their own on the other half of the field. Ogbeche did extremely well to hold off his marker inside the box, before laying the ball off for an onrushing Rowllin Borges. The midfielder, however, rushed his shot and put it over the bar.

As the half progressed, Jamshedpur started dominating possession, while NorthEast seemed content staying back and playing on the counter. But neither of the goalkeepers faced any serious test. Both defences kept their shape and most of the attacking play were restricted to shots from outside the box. Chances were few and far between in the first 45 minutes, as both teams headed into the break with the score level at 0-0.

The second-half picked up from where the first-half left off, with either team failing to make any definitive inroads into the opposition defence. It took 58 minutes to register the first shot on target in the match. Federico Gallego’s shot forced a regulation save from Subrata Paul.

On the hour mark, Jamshedpur head coach Cesar Ferrando introduced Tim Cahill to the fray in order the shake things up.

With 64 minutes on the clock, NorthEast almost found a way inside the Jamshedpur box after a dangerous backpass by Memo. But Subrata came off his line quickly to bail his teammate out.

The match started to open up a bit after the 70-minute mark. Jamshedpur substitute Mobashir Rahman’s volley from outside the box managed to worry NorthEast goalkeeper Pawan Kumar for the first time in the match. The shot, however, sailed inches over the bar.

The Highlanders have made it a habit of scoring late goals this season and it seemed the trend may continue when Ogbeche found space inside the Jamshedpur box on the 89th minute. The striker tried to bend one inside the far post. A backtracking Bikash Jairu managed to put a crucial block in to deny him.

It was the final piece of goalmouth action in the match as both sides settled for a point.

Jamshedpur Football Club sign midfielder from ATK

Jamshedpur, November 30, 2018: Jamshedpur FC are ecstatic to announce that the club has completed the signing of 21-year-old midfielder, Malsawmzuala on loan from ATK. The youngster has penned a deal with the the Jharkhand-based side and is now available to feature for the club for the remainder of the Indian Super League 2018/19 season.

Starting his footballing journey with his local club, Chanmari FC in Mizoram, Malsawmzuala quickly climbed the ladder and impressed the scouts at Bengaluru FC. The youngster joined BFC in 2015 and instantly became a regular in the side.

Malsawmzuala made important contributions for the club in I-League and also in the AFC Cup. He made 15 appearances for the club and scored 1 goal; a 30-yard stunner against East Bengal in a crucial I-League encounter.
Malsawmzuala also has Indian Super League experience under his belt as the boy from Mizoram had joined Delhi Dynamos on loan in 2016. He made four appearances that season for the Dynamos and also scored a goal against FC Pune City.

The youngster joined ATK ahead of the ongoing season but has not been able to garner regular playing time in the Steve Coppell managed side. Malsawmzuala will now be hoping to kick-start his ISL journey with Jamshedpur FC.

Malsawmzuala has also represented India at the U-19 level and was previously included in the Indian senior team squad for the World Cup qualifiers in 2016 alongside his soon to be teammate, Sumeet Passi. The midfielder is touted as a huge talent and is predicted by many to become the Indian midfield mainstay for the years to come.

Malsawmzuala is a defensive midfielder that excels in breaking up play and helping his side win back possession. He is also comfortable when on the ball and has an ability to test the opponents with his long-range shooting. The youngster will surely play a key role in the ongoing season for Jamshedpur FC with his ability to destruct and dictate the game from the centre of the park.

ISL 5: Chennaiyin, Kerala play out goalless draw

CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC played out a goalless draw with Kerala Blasters in their Indian Super League clash on Thursday.

Chennaiyin were desperately in need of the maximum points, but they failed to make the home advantage count for them and can only rue their missed chances of which there were many in what was a tough game played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.

The result saw Chennaiyin remain on 9th place with 5 points from 9 matches while Kerala Blasters are on 7th position with 8 points.

Both teams started the game at a frantic pace in the hope of catching their opponents early on but to no avail.

Chennaiyin looked the more likely to open the scoring and almost did so in the 6th minute when Isaac Vanmalsawma crossed in from the left side to Andrea Orlandi inside the box but the Spaniard’s header went straight to keeper.

Jeje Lalpekhlua also came close to break the deadlock for the hosts in the 20th minute when Orlandi made his way into the box from the left flank and cut it back to Jeje who fired his shot off target.

Chennaiyin were attacking with zeal, precision and tenacity in the first-half. They were asking all sorts of questions to the Kerala Blasters defence and could have taken the lead on the 30-minute mark.

Orlandi floated a free-kick in from the left and Eli Sabia head it down for Thoi Singh to shot on goal. However, Dheeraj made fantastic diving save on his left to keep his side in the game.

Kerala Blasters created little in reply, with their only notable attacking effort of the first-half seeing Halicharan Narzary controlling a ball in the penalty area, but any hopes of getting away a shot were quickly crushed by Chennaiyin custodian Sanjiban Ghosh in the 38th minute.

Thereafter, neither side were able to create any further chances in the first-half with the score deadlocked 0-0 as the teams headed for the change room at the break.

The hosts visitors were better after the break, but continued to be frustrated by a disciplined Chennaiyin defense.

Keziron Kizito fored over the target six minutes into the second-half, while a short while after Sahal Abdul Samad saw his goal-bound effort stymied by Sanjiban.

At the other end, Raphael Augusto led a quick counter-attack, but his shot took a deflection and Dheeraj collected the ball with ease.

The embattled goalkeeper needed to make another top save shortly after the hour mark when a free-kick from Orlandi found Jeje who headed on target in the 71st minute.

Seiminlen Doungel should have netted the winner for Kerala Blasters in the 82nd minute when he received a lovely pass from Zakeer Mundampara and went one against one with Sanjiban, who produced a brilliant save to prevent his side from losing two points.

The remainder of the match was a frustrating time for Chennaiyin, who dominated play but were unable to find a way through Kerala Blasters’ resilient defense. Even the introduction of Carlos Salom and Anirudh Thapa off the bench didn’t help the hosts find the breakthrough.

ISL 5: Cuadrat urges Bengaluru to keep momentum going

Bengaluru: In what is the first reverse fixture of the season for the Blues, Carles Cuadrat’s side take on FC Pune City at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Friday, with the intent to stretch their unbeaten start to the Indian Super League and further their lead on top of the table. Bengaluru FC, with 19 points from seven games, are two points clear of second-placed FC Goa on the standings, with Sergio Lobera’s side having played two games more.

“We are enjoying a good phase at the moment and it’s important that we keep it going. The first part of our target will be complete once we make the play-off stages, so I am not taking anything for granted until then,” he said, while addressing the media on the eve of the game.

It needed an 87th minute winner from Udanta Singh at the Fortress on Monday to beat Delhi Dynamos 1-0 and Cuadrat will be hoping that Friday’s fixture will see a marked improvement in the way his side go about things. Injuries and suspensions have thrown a spanner in the works for the Blues who have relied on resilience to pull them through.

In better news for the hosts, Dimas Delgado returns to the squad after serving a suspension and Erik Paartalu, who came on in the second half against Delhi, looks fit to start. The attack will however have their work cut out after Miku was ruled out till the end of the year owing to the ankle injury that kept him out for the last two games. “Miku will only be available in January now. He will be flying to Spain on Friday to further his treatment that requires him to take a few injections. It is an unfortunate situation given the kind of quality he brings to the team, but this is a chance for the others to stand up and be counted,” said Cuadrat.

While the midfield and attack have been operating rather seamlessly for most parts of the season, it is the Bengaluru defence that has been silently but surely making the biggest difference. The Blues back line have let in five goals in seven games, making them the side to conceded the least so far this season.

They will however face a potent threat in the Pune attack tonight. Iain Hume was handed his first start of the season in the 2-0 defeat to NorthEast United earlier this week and the highest goal scorer in the League’s history can be a handful when on song. In Brazilian Marcelinho and the impressive Ashique Kuruniyan, Pune possess the quality needed to come at Bengaluru.

However, coach Pradhyum Reddy – a former assistant coach at Bengaluru for three seasons – too has a key player missing in Brazilian Diego Carlos who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.

While the Blues are on a five-game winning streak in the ISL, the Stallions come into this game with a not-so-ideal away record having last won on the road way back in February this year when they overcame Mumbai 2-0. Since then, they have drawn three times and lost four conceding 14 goals and scoring seven.

The game kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be telecast live across the STAR Sports network, HotStar, JioTV and Colors Kannada Cinema.

ISL 5: ATK and Goa involved in end-to-end goalless stalemate

KOLKATA: ATK and FC Goa played out an enthralling goalless draw at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Goa started the half as the better of the two sides and should have really scored two goals within the first 15 minutes. Seriton Fernandes was awarded the first real chance in the seventh minute when he was slipped through by Jackichand Singh. The right-back though failed to direct his shot on target and hit the side-netting.

A few minutes later, Goa had an even better chance when Ahmed Jahouh delivered an inch perfect ball to the far post. Mourtada Fall ghosted behind the defence to win a free header, however, he could only find the side-netting – a real let off for ATK.

The hosts then spurned a few good chances themselves. Santos, who was ATK’s most threatening player of the first period almost broke the deadlock near the half-hour mark. A delicious pass from Jayesh Rane across the face of goal was flicked on by the Brazilian attacker. But Goa custodian Mohammad Nawaz stood firm to make a good stop.

ATK wold come closest to scoring in the 36th minute through Lanzarote. After some neat build up play from Santos and Gerson Vieira, the ball fell to the Spaniard inside the box. He chested it down before firing a shot, which narrowly missed the far post. That would prove to be the last notable piece of action of an end-to-end goalless half.

ATK started the second half on a bright note and created a neat opening in the 54th minute. Santos and Lanzarote were once again in the thick of the action, carving open the Goa defence with their fine running. This time Lanzarote laid the ball off to Rane, who took one touch before forcing a good stop from Nawaz.

A few minutes after the hour-mark, drama ensued as Goa felt hard done by when they were not awarded a penalty. Substitute Manvir showed incredible control and composure to beat ATK’s offside trap before creating space for a shot a goal. His effort was blocked by Bikey before being cleared off the line by John Johnson. The ball seemed to have hit Bikey on the arm, but the referee waved play on.

As the match reached its end, chances were few and far between as both sides seemed to settle for a point. Goa did have a glorious opportunity in the final minute though when Ferran Corominas demonstrated determination and skill to beat two defenders before delivering a cross for Edu Bedia. The midfielder, however, failed to direct his shot on target as the ball ran out of play.

ISL 5: NorthEast United add to Pune City’s woes

PUNE: NorthEast United lifted themselves to second on the Indian Super League table with a 2-0 win over FC Pune City on Tuesday at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune.

Goals from Bartholomew Ogbeche (23′) and Juan Mascia (90+1′) secured the victory for the Highlanders, taking them two points adrift of leaders Bengaluru FC. While FC Pune City remain 8th on the table with 5 points.

The opening 10 minutes was a rather scrappy affair, with both teams unable to hold onto the ball long enough to create any decent scoring opportunities.

The first effort on goal only came in the 9th minute, when Ogbeche won the ball from a Pune defender on the left flank. The Nigerian had a chance to shoot by himself but decided to pass it to Mascia who tried to shoot but a defender blocked it away.

Three minutes later Pune City came bitterly close to taking the lead through Ashique Kuruniyan but his first time shot was superbly saved by the NorthEast custodian Pawan Kumar.

Pune City had another chance in the 16th minute when Iain Hume from the right-hand side nicely squared a pass to Marcelo Pereira who tried to round the defender but slipped and it has been cleared away.

NorthEast, thereafter, continued to press on, and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 23rd minute though Ogbeche. Federico Gallego crossed it flat from the corner. It went past everybody at the near post and fell to Ogbeche who chested it down and slotted into the far post.

From the goal onwards, NorthEast dominated the proceedings, but poor decision-making let them down in the final third which saw Eelco Schattorie’s charges went into the breather with only a solitary goal lead.

Pune City showed intent after the interval as they made more box entries in their quest to score the equaliser and the Stallions nearly found it at the hour mark when Mato Grgic’s long throw inside the box found Marko Stankovic who took a first time shot with his right foot only to be blocked by Gurwinder Singh.

Despite being under the pump, NorthEast managed three shots on goal but none of those were on target to test Kamalpreet Singh in goal for Pune City.

Pune City then continued to dominate proceedings but they were repeatedly frustrated by good defending.

Despite the momentum turning in Pune City’s favour, NorthEast managed to found the all-important insurance goal though Mascia who converted from the spot after Sahil Panwar clumsily tripped him inside the box and referee  pointed to the penalty spot.

Mascia took on the responsibility of the penalty and placed it nicely to the left of the keeper to secure a vital win for the Highlanders.

ISL 5: Bengaluru dig deep to claim 1-0 win against Delhi Dynamos

Bengaluru: Udanta Singh fired home an 87th minute winner to light up the Fortress as Bengaluru FC beat Delhi Dynamos 1-0 to go three points clear on top of the table and keep the Blues’ unbeaten start to the Indian Super League, intact, at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Monday. Skipper Sunil Chhetri marked his 150th game in a BFC shirt as his side fought tooth and nail until the final whistle to get the better of a stubborn Delhi side.

Delhi could have gone ahead in the 30th minute if it hadn’t been for Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s making himself big to deny Lallianzuala Chhangte from a one-on-one situation. Encouraged by the threat they put the Bengaluru defence under, the visitors attacked with confidence and it needed more of Sandhu’s quality to keep them at bay.

Earlier, Cuadrat chose to start with a shape that seemed like a 4-4-2 with defender Rino Anto being handed his first start this season. With no Dimas Delgado (suspended), Nishu Kumar moved up on the left in midfield, while Chencho Gyeltshen had Chhetri for a partner in attack.

Bengaluru came close as soon as the half resumed when Udanta Singh played the perfect cut-back for Chhetri, but the skipper’s attempt to stroke the ball into the far corner was disappointing by his standards.

Sensing the need to shake things up a little, Cuadrat brought on Erik Paartalu for Rino Anto, prompting Nishu to return to his familiar position at left-back. A second change was made soon after with Semboi Haokip replacing Gyeltshen as the Blues began showing far more purpose than they did in the first half.

Delhi, who were keeping things at the back tight, lost possession after Haokip pressed Gianni Zuiverloon, stole the ball off the Dutchman and picked Udanta. The winger lobbed the ball over the defence to pick Xisco Hernandez’s run perfectly, only for the Spaniard to scuff his attempt on the volley.

With less than five minutes left on the clock, Semboi pressed Zuiverloon once again, this time in an attempt to find space to get a shot away but instead the ball bounced away from goal towards an incoming Udanta, who found himself in space. With time to compose himself, the winger sent a shot goalward that took the slightest of nicks off Marti Crespi before heading towards the bottom corner and shaking the net off the upright to send thousands of BFC fans into a frenzy.

Bengaluru will next face FC Pune City in their first reverse fixture of the League season, at the Kanteerava Stadium, on Friday.

Bengaluru FC sign Eduardo Garcia; finalize squad for Indian Super League

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC completed their quota of foreign signings and finalized their squad for the upcoming season with the addition of Spanish winger Eduardo ‘Edu’ Garcia Martin, the club announced on Saturday. Having penned a one-year deal, Edu becomes the eighth overseas player and the fifth Spaniard in the squad for the Blues’ maiden season in the Indian Super League.


Head Coach Albert Roca welcomed his fellow countryman to the Blues’ fold and said, “Edu is an exciting young winger. His versatility down the flank will provide us with great options in terms of personnel as well as our game plan. He will be a great addition to our squad and fits in well with our philosophy.”


Twenty-seven-year-old Edu, who joins the Blues from Spanish side Real Zaragoza, shared his excitement ahead of his first overseas stint, “I’m very excited for joining the club. From the first time, I liked the idea of playing for Bengaluru’s team in the Indian Super League. Football in India is growing a lot and it’s an important challenge for me. I hope I can help the club to reach the objectives for the season. I can’t wait to start!”


Born in Zaragoza, Edu joined his home side Real Zaragoza’s youth setup in 2002, aged 12. He progressed through the ranks at the club before making his debut with the reserves during the 2009–10 campaign, in Tercera Division.


In 2012, Edu joined CD Ebro before moving to fellow league team SD Ejea the following season. In July 2014, he returned to Ebro and scored career-best 16 goals during his first season, helping his team gain promotion to Segunda Division B, before adding a further eight in his second season.


The winger then sealed a return to Real Zaragoza in at the start of the 2016-17 season and made 27 appearances for the Los Maños helping them finish 16th with 50 points in the Segunda Division.

Bengaluru FC strengthen attack, sign Venezuela International Miku

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC have added more firepower to their frontline with the signing of Venezuelan International striker Nicolas ‘Miku’ Ladislao Fedor Flores ahead of their debut Indian Super League season, the club announced on Tuesday. The 32-year-old who signed a two-year deal, arrives to Bengaluru from Spanish side Rayo Vallecano with whom he spent the last two-and-a-half seasons.

The 6’ 1” attacker will team up with Spaniard Braulio Nobrega at the front and becomes the Blues’ seventh foreign signing for the season and the first ever South American player at the club.

Head Coach Albert Roca was delighted with the newest addition to the squad and said, “I’m extremely happy to have secured the services of Miku. He is an exciting player with some great skills and his playing style will help us a lot. Miku has played for several top clubs for a number of years now, and the experience he brings in will be very crucial for us this season.”

Having completed formalities, an excited Miku said, “I have heard a lot about the club and the city. We have some great players in the club who always fight for titles, so I hope it will be a good season for every one of us in Bengaluru. I spoke to Albert Roca about the club, the league and the team. He’s a very good and experienced coach and explained to me what he wants from me for this season. I can’t wait to join my teammates and begin training.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela to a Hungarian father and a Venezuelan mother, Miku began his football career in Spanish powerhouse Valencia’s youth system. Turning professional in 2004 with the Mestella-side, the striker turned out for CD Alcoyano (2004-05, 2nd B), UD Salamanca (2005–06, 2nd B), Ciudad de Murcia (2006, 2nd), Valencia ‘B’ (2007, 2nd B), Gimnastic de Tarragona (2007–08, 2nd), UD Salamanca (2008–09, 2nd) in the Spanish league system. His highlight during this period was striking 18 goals in the promotion winning campaign at Salamanca during the 2005-06 Segunda ‘B’ season.

The striker returned back to parent club Valencia for the 2009-10 La Liga season, before moving in the heart of Spain to Getafe. His four-year spell with the Madrid-based club saw him amass 26 La Liga goals in 90-plus appearances. Miku also had short loan spell with Glasgow-based Celtic FC in 2012-13 where he won the Scottish League and Cup double.


The following season, the Venezuelan moved out of Europe for his first spell in Asia where he represented Al-Gharafa SC (2013-15) in the Qatar Stars League. In January 2015, Miku returned to Spain to join Rayo Vallecano, another Madrid-based club. The striker settled in quickly and began firing all guns blazing in the 2015-16 season. In February 2016, he became the first Venezuelan to score in four consecutive Spanish top flight matchdays, winning La Liga’s Player of the Month award. That season Miku netted nine times and assisted four goals in 22 appearances for Rayo in the La Liga finishing their joint second-highest top-scorer in the league.

At the continental level, Miku has represented Celtic in the UEFA Champions League while playing in the UEFA Europa League for Getafe and Valencia, also scoring a hattrick in the competition for the latter.

A full international since 2006, Miku has 51 caps for Venezuela and has scored 11 times, most notably against Brazil in the during the 2015 Copa America in Chile. The striker also helped his team to a fourth-place finish in the 2011 Copa America held in Argentina. Interestingly, the striker has already played in India as a part of the Venezuela team which faced Argentina in an International Friendly in Kolkata back in September 2011.

For the record, Miku is the fifth-highest (joint) goalscorer for the Venezuelan national team and is 23rd (joint) in the list of most caps for his country.