India lost to Pakistan in the final of the Asian junior team squash

Pattaya (Thailand): It did not prove second time lucky for India as Pakistan carved out a 2-0 victory to win the boys’ title in the Asian junior team squash championship here on Sunday. It was by a 2-1 margin that Pakistan had beaten India in a Pool league match earlier.

As has been the pattern for India in this championship this time, the focus fell once again on Veer Chotrani who was to start the proceedings for India. The Indian did his best showed his fighting qualities to stretch the match but at the finish line, Hashmi edged him out to put Pakistan one up. Expectations of Utkarsh Baheti taking a leaf from Veer dimmed from the way Abbas Zeb seized early control of the exchanges. Leaving no chance for Utkarsh to manoeuvre, Zeb reeled away three straight games to bring Pakistan the victory.

The result: final: Boys: Pakistan beat India 2-0 (Abbas Zeb bt Utkarsh Baheti 11-4, 11-2, 11-6; Muhammad Farhan Hashmi bt Veer Chotrani 2-11, 11-9, 11-7, 5-11,11-9; Harish Qasim-Yash Fadte (withdrawn).

Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu win 9th Hockey India Senior Men National Hockey Championship 2019 (B Division)

Chennai (Tamil Nadu), 20 January 2019: Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu beat Central Secretariat 4-3 in a high-voltage Final encounter to win the 9th Hockey India Senior Men National Hockey Championship 2019 (B Division) on Sunday. Earlier, in the Bronze Medal Match, Sports Authority of India beat Bengaluru Hockey Association 5-1.

In a tense final match, the two teams enthralled the evening spectators as they fought to stay in lead from hooter-to-hooter. It was Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu who stayed ahead in goal tally with their first goal in the 12th minute through D Muthuseelvan. V Vinod Rayer (21′), P Dhamu (38′), V Vinodhan (56′) scored a goal each to put their team in lead while Govind Singh Rawat (20′, 34′) scored twice to equalise and G Gnanavel (41′) scored a goal to equalise in the third quarter which saw the match remain tense in the fourth quarter. But the home team remained calm and showcased good attack to find an opportunity in the 56th minute to win the match.

Earlier, Sports Authority of India were dominating as they beat Bengaluru Hockey Association 5-1 in the Bronze Medal match. Vishal (12′), Rahul Kumar (22′), Boby Singh Dhami (37′), Naveen (45′) and Mohit Kumar (56′) scored for the winning team while Harish Mutagar (12′) scored the lone goal for Bengaluru Hockey Association.

I-League 2018/19: Plaza gives Churchill Brothers crucial win over Neroca

Goa, January 19, 2019: Trinidad & Tobago striker Willis Deon Plaza scored a brace to join Chennai’s Pedro Manzi at the top of the Hero I-League’s goal scoring charts and complete a brilliant comeback for his side, late in the second half, to pull off a crucial win over Neroca FC of Manipur.

Neroca seemed to have sealed three points in Saturday’s third and final Hero I-League game, thanks to a Varney Kallon strike in the first half before Plaza struck twice in the last five minutes to break their hearts.

It was an amazing turnaround and with this win, the former two-time champions reached 25 points from 14 games to be placed third on the table, five behind league leaders Chennai. Neroca would rue what might have been and remained in the fifth position with 21 points.

Churchill made one change in the playing eleven from the previous game as Nenad Novakovic came in place of Hussein Eldor in deep defence. Neroca’s Spanish coach Manuel Fraile, on the other hand, made two, replacing Saran Singh and Ashok with Tondomba Singh and Meetei.

In a thrilling end to end encounter, as was expected from two attack-minded sides, Plaza got his first clear chance of the game in the 13th minute when he latched on to a defensive error and got into a scoring position inside the box but narrowly missed the target after beating the keeper.

In the 18th minute, Neroca’s Australian import Aryn Williams turned one around towards goal off a corner, but it was comfortable for Kithan to collect.

Neroca took the lead quite against the run of play and for the umpteenth time in this edition of the Hero I-League, it resulted from a set-piece. Malem took the free-kick from outside the Churchill box from the left flank and floated in a right-footed curler towards the near post.

Liberian defender Kallon had come in specifically for this routine and got ahead of his marker to deflect the ball into the Churchill net past keeper James Kithan.

Churchill looked to hit back immediately and Dawda Cessay got at the end of an Anthony Wolfe pass and controlled beautifully to float it back in towards the Trinidadian Wolfe, who he found in space for a free header. Wolfe’s effort sailed agonisingly over the bar.

Then in the 40th minute, the hosts came close to scoring twice. First Richard Costa’s shot from inside the box went just wide and then a Dawda Cessay effort was collected by Lalit Thapa in the Neroca goal.

The half ended with another rasping drive by the Gambian Cessay which was parried away by Thapa.

Churchill began with a flurry in the second half but it was Neroca who had the first gilt-edged opportunity of the half when Subhash found Katsumi Yusa with a cross from the left flank and the Japanese winger’s angled header just missed the post.

Lalit Thapa then brought off a couple of saves, first off a Cessay free-kick and then off a Khalid Aucho pile driver.

In the 66th minute, Katsumi fed a lovely cross by Nigerian striker Felix Chidi, but he failed to trap properly and Kithan collected the ball from his feet bravely.

Then Malem’s free-kick in the 72nd minute, curled from outside the wall but again missed narrowly although Kithan seemed to have it covered.

Plaza then turned the game and the result on its head with two telling strikes.

Dawda Cessay executed a perfect pass from midfield sighting Plaza’s run in between two defenders. The Trinidadian, who has been in clinical finishing form, unleashed a left-footed strike across Kithan and into the Neroca net. This was in the 85th minute.

Then in the first minute of added time, substitute Israil Gurung floated the ball in from a corner and Plaza jumped over his marker near the first post and found the back of the net again with a brilliant header.

It was one of the best games of the season and Neroca would consider themselves unlucky to be on the losing side after coming so close, but Churchill with the form they are displaying seems to be in prime position to take advantage of any let up from leaders Chennai going forward.

I-League 2018/19: Real Kashmir keep climbing with comfortable victory against Lajong

Shillong, January 19, 2019: Real Kashmir FC, now playing like experienced settled sides, a far cry from the debutants tag, notched up a comfortable solitary-goal-victory over bottom-placed Shillong Lajong at the JLN stadium in Shillong, Meghalaya today.

Kashmir’s Zambian centre-back Aaron Katebe got the all-important winner in the 74th minute of the second half, propelling the ‘snow leopards’ to second on the points table, just five behind leaders Chennai after both have played 13 games each.

To begin with, both managers David Robertson and Alison Kharyntiew made two changes and both coincidentally in the midfield positions. Kashmir started Khalid Qayoom and Nagen Tamang in place of Farhan Ganie and Danish Farooq while Shillong rested leader of the pack Samuel Lalmuanpia and Sheen Stevenson, bringing in Hnamte and Phrangki Buam in their place.

Honours were even in the first half with Shillong’s Red Devils dominating possession as also having the best looks at goal. Samuel Lyngdoh’s volley as early as in the fifth minute sailed over the goal.

The young hosts were not able to convert any of their interesting moves however and were made to pay for their discretion in the second half.

Just after David Robertson effected a double substitution in the second half, bringing in Gnohere Krizo and Danish Farooq for Koffi Tetteh and Qayoom, Kashmir went ahead from a setpiece.

Surchandra Singh floated the ball across the goal away from the far post from a corner, to which Loveday Okechukwu rose the tallest to direct a header back towards the centre of the goal. Zambian Katebe, Loveday’s partner at centre-back, was lurking around and slotted his header into the Shillong net.

Kashmir took control of proceedings from there on and Mason Roberston took a thunderous shot on the turn from the top of the box in the 81st minute, which hit the upright after it was brilliantly palmed away by keeper Lachempa.

Robertson then missed another couple of clear chances and in the end, Kashmir had to be satisfied with the 1-0 scoreline.

For Shillong, the only consolation was the Hero of the Match award bagged by keeper Phurba Lachempa for his vital contributions, without which the scoreline could have been different.

I-League 2018/19: Minerva Punjab FC leave it late to share spoils with Gokulam Kerala FC

Panchkula,19th January 2019: Minerva Punjab FC fans witnessed a nail-biting finish as the home side snatched a draw from a near-definite loss, scoring an equalizer in the final minute of the game.

While it were the visitors Gokulam Kerala FC who drew first blood in the 82nd minute through Debutant Marcus Joseph, a 10-man Minerva Punjab FC scraped in a beautiful equalizer in the final minute of the additional time through Musa Caicedo (90’ + 4’) to share the spoils. Gokulam’s Marcus Joseph was adjudged the Hero of the Match.

The first half began with Minerva Punjab FC in their traditional Blue Stripes, while Gokulam Kerala FC in Maroon and Orange. Both the teams made four changes in the playing XI. Arshdeep Singh was back guarding the posts Midfielder Sourav Rautella, Defender Akashdeep Singh and Cote D’Ivoirian forward Kouame Konan Zacharie found a place in the playing XI for Minerva Punjab FC.

Gokulam Kerala FC, on the other hand, introduced Deepak K and Wungngayam Muirang in defence while Imran Khan and Ghanian Charles Teiko Folley to the attack.

The visitors made their intent very clear from the first minute and would have nearly got a breakthrough in the 2nd minute through an outstanding header from Pritam Singh off an Abhishek Das cross, finding the back of the net, but was disallowed by the referee giving a fresh lease of life to the Minerva Punjab FC.

The game, thereafter, saw the visitors making continuous attacks but the defending champions had organized them to deny Gokulam any clear chance to create troubles.

Minerva’s woes took a new turn when in the 20th minute there forward Zacharie was asked to march off the field owing to a red card that was a result of an unnecessary foul committed on the Gokulam keeper Arnab Das inside the box. Gokulam Kerala FC who enjoyed a higher possession in the game but neither of the teams could any further chances to draw first blood.

Minerva Punjab FC who were playing with 10 men on the field showcased a lot of composure denying the visitors any chances to change the goal less first half to their favour.

The second half began with Gokulam Kerala pressing hard for a lead against a 10-Men Minerva Punjab FC. Minerva, on the other hand, ensured a strong defence line denying the visitors any clear chance to take the lead.

A major part of the second half was played around the midfield with the hosts mostly on defence while Gokulam Kerala FC attacking in short bursts but was unable to create any
clear chance.

Gokulam’s efforts were rewarded in the 82nd minute when debutant Marcus Joseph from Trinidad & Tobago found the back of the net to give the visitors a hard-fought lead.

Gokulam Kerala FC, thereafter, went on an attacking spree but full marks to Minerva Punjab FC defenders who did not allow the visitors the insurance goal as they would have desired for.

Minerva Punjab FC who were on the verge of a seventh consecutive loss now did not stop trying and their valiant efforts found results when Souvik das crafted a well-thought pass to Moinuddin inside the box who further headed it to Caicedo.

Caicedo made no mistake in heading the ball inside the goal bringing in a magical equalizer for Minerva Punjab FC during the final minute of the additional time as both the teams ended up sharing the spoils.

I-League 2018/19: Chennai’s Spanish juggernaut earns hard-fought win over Aizawl FC

Coimbatore, January 18, 2019: Sandro Rodriguez scored on either side of the half and Pedro Manzi helped himself to score arguably the goal of the season and another to boot, as Chennai outclassed Aizawl FC 4-3 to take a step closer to the 12th Hero I-League crown at Coimbatore’s Nehru stadium.

Albert got a 37th minute equaliser for Aizawl after Sandro had given the hosts a lead in the 28th, and for a while till the quarter hour mark of the second half, the visitors looked in the ascendency before Manzi Magic struck a definitive blow to take the game away from Aizawl, despite a late rally by them.

The win takes them to 30 points with seven more games to go and an eight-point gap from their nearest rivals at this stage. Stanley Rozario, the new Aizawl coach looked positive, to begin with starting Albert Zohmingmawia Vanlalduatsanga in place of Lalrosanga and Fanai, who had started the previous game.

For the hosts as well, Akbar Nawas was forced to leave out a suspended Roberto Eslava and played the versatile Jozef Kaplan in defence. Sri Ram was also replaced by Srinivasan Pandiyan, who came back from suspension.

Chennai took the lead in the 28th minute after a move created by Pravitto Raju on the right saw him try to setup Nestor with a cut back in. The Spaniard displayed vision to leave it for Sandro backing up, who let go from distance and the ball caught Gurpreet’s palms before going into the Aizawl net.

About 10 minutes later, Alfred Jaryan muscled the ball away from Pandiyan in the centre of midfield and played a quick 1-2 with Kasagga and upon getting the ball back, released Albert who had made a darting run into the box from the right.

The talented youngster brought back by Stanley Rozario after not getting much game-time during Raikhan’s tenure earlier, coolly slotted the ball between Santana’s legs and into the Chennai net.

From then till the 60th minute of the game, Aizawl clearly looked the better team and threatened many a time to take the lead.

Ivorian Zikahi Dodoz was guilty of missing at least two gilt-edged opportunities to score. Chennai also had their fair share of misses and Romario was the main culprit missing a sitter in the 58th minute after misdirecting a volley earlier.

Then there was simply some Manzi Magic at the hour mark.

A ball cleared by the Romario from the Chennai back line bounced in front of Pedro Manzi just inside the Aizawl half near the right touchline. The Spanish sniper took a touch forward, looked up, saw keeper Gurpreet off his line and fired from 40 yards out to lob the keeper and nestle the ball into the Aizawl net.

It was a goal worthy of taking him to the top of the 12th Hero I-League goalscorers list with his 12th of the campaign.

It was a goal feast from then on with Sandro getting his second of the game in the 69th, not for the first time in this year’s campaign, swinging in a brilliantly taken free-kick, to beat Gurpreet all ends up.

Nestor, who had a relatively quieter day, then got into the mix, playing in the perfectly weighted ball into the box for Manzi, who had initiated the move from the right. The striker chipped in calmly over the keeper for this 13th.

Then in injury time, Aizawl attempted an outrageous comeback with two more outstanding goals, ushering in a thrilling finish.

First Isaac, controlled a second ball off a corner, took a touch forward with his left foot to create space and curled it intelligently over Santana in the Chennai goal.

A minute later, Aizawl intercepted the ball in the midfield and Mapuia, played on inside the box, shrugged off his marker to unleash a right-footer past Santana. It was Mapuia’s third of the season and all his goals have been quality so far.

It was a brave effort by Aizawl but in the end, Chennai ran out deserving winners to consolidate their position at the top.

I-League 2018/19: Jamie Colado strikes to get the job done against Indian Arrows

Kolkata, January 18, 2019: A Jamie Santos Colado strike in the second half was enough to get the job done for Quess East Bengal against Indian Arrows at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) as the ‘Red & Golds’ climbed to second on the table after 12 games, five shy of leaders Chennai.

The Arrows will remain at eighth position with 13 points after an equal number of games.

QEB’s Spanish coach Alejandro Garcia made two changes to the starting eleven from their previous game against Chennai. Regular Lalrindika Ralte was suspended and Kamalpreet got a start while Samad Ali Mallick sat on the bench as Lalram Chullova came back in after suspension.

The Arrows coach Floyd Pinto fielded an unchanged side from their thumping 3-0 victory against Shillong in their previous game.

Santos it was, who had the first shot at goal in the 12th minute of the game when he latched onto a second ball and fired only for it to be way off the mark.

He then fed Joby Justin from the right flank but the premiere QEB striker’s header was well collected by Prabhsukhan Gill in the Arrows goal. The closest QEB came to scoring in the half, however, was when Frenchman Kassim Aidara’s scorcher from 20-25 yards out off a loose ball which resulted off a Chullova throw inside the box, hit the right upright and came back.

The winning goal came just three minutes into the second half. Joby latched on to a ball on the right flank, just a minute after he had attempted another wonderful cross from the same position, but this time cut the ball back into the box instead of driving it across.

The ball seemed to have been intercepted by the Arrows defence, but they fumbled and Santos lurking around, pounced on the opening and blasted it into the net.

The Arrows then had a couple of chances threw Rahul KP but the closest he came was the side-netting in the 81st minute.

In the 84th, Joby again found Santos with a cross after darting inside the box with a fine-run, but the Spaniard could not connect for a tap home.

Defender Borja Gomez was adjudged Hero of the Match and left-back Manoj Mohammad saw red in injury time as the game drew to a fiery close.

I-League 2018/19: Big Game at the Tilak Maidan as Churchill Take on Neroca FC

New Delhi, January 18, 2019: By the time Churchill Brothers and Neroca FC take the field at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco Da Gama, Goa, on Saturday, January 19, 2019, both teams will know whether it is only Chennai ahead of them or even Real Kashmir.

Be that as it may, arguably the biggest game of the day, scheduled for a 7.30 PM IST start, promises to be one, not for the faint-hearted with two in-form attack-minded teams battling it out with realistic title aspirations foremost in their minds.

Churchill Brothers have been the more impressive of the two sides, however of their two losses so far, one was to their Saturday opponents in the first-leg fixture.

Neroca, in that game, rode on a Katsumi Yusa brace to stun the high-flying Goans in that instance. Churchill have regrouped since then and now lie second in the table with a five-point gap separating them from league leaders Chennai.

With the form that their striker Willis Deon Plaza has demonstrated so far, a joint highest scorer with Chennai’s Pedro Manzi with 11 goals each, the hosts will be backing themselves to take three points at home.

Churchill’s Romanian coach Petra Gigiu said in the pre-game presser, “It is a difficult game. Neroca is a strong stone and they have many good players. They play well and have an organised team. Defence and attack both are good. We will try our best and try and not make the mistakes we have made earlier. The three points are very important for us and we will be playing to win.”

Neroca go into Saturday’s game on the back of a narrow defeat, their third of the 12th Hero I-League season, in their previous game against Mohun Bagan and will be desperate to get back to winning backs to remain hot contenders for a shot at the title.

Their Spanish coach Manuel Fraile had this to say on match day eve, “We will be fighting for three points but the pressure is on Churchill. Rest we should give our best and win the game. It will be a difficult game tomorrow. We will try to be the Champions. We will stick to our game plan and my team is ready.”

The fluent style of both teams and the quality in attack with the likes of Singham Subash Singh, Felix Chidi for Neroca and Dawda Cessay, Anthony Wolfe for Churchill, the game promises to be a cracker under the lights in Goa.

Indian Boy’s and Girl’s in semi-finals of Asian junior Squash Championship

Pattaya (Thailand): India moved into the semi-final in both the boys’ and girls’ sections in the Asian junior team squash championship here on Friday.

The last set of Pool matches brought about contrasting results with the boys’ winning 3-0 over Korea and thereby finishing second in Pool A behind Pakistan while the girls lost 0-3 to Hong Kong and placed the number two team in its Pool. Hong Kong took the top place.

Of the two, the boys’ tie had added interest because India needed a win to ensure its passage into the knock out round. As it turned out, the trio of Utkarsh Baheti, Yash Fadte and Tushar Shahani made sure there were no hiccups enroute. Only Fadte had a longer stay on court with his opponent Lee Minwoo pushing the contest to four games. Tushar did face tough resistance but managed to keep Yu Jeongmin down in straight games. In the girls section, Amira put up a brave front, even led 2-1 in game scores against Lim Sum Yuet but could not sustain the tempo.

In the semi-finals on Saturday, India plays Malaysia in both sections.

The results:

Boys: Pool A: India bt Korea 3-0 (Utkarsh Baheti bt Kim Seokjin 11-8, 11-3, 11-5; Yash Fadte bt Lee Minwoo11-5, 9-11, 11-6, 12-10; Tushar Shahani bt Yu Jeongmin 12-10, 11-8, 13-11)

Girls: Pool B: Hong Kong bt India 3-0 (Chan Sin Yuk bt Sanya Vats 11-6, 11-6, 11-9; Cheng Nga Ching bt Yoshna Singh 12-10, 11-9, 11-5; Lim SumYuet bt Amira Singh 11-2, 13-15, 9-11, 11-6, 11-8)

India lost to Pakistan in Asian junior squash championship

Pattaya (Thailand): Spurning close to five match points, Veer Chotrani lost a crucial match and helped Pakistan to clinch a 2-1 win over India in a Pool A boys’ encounter in the Asian junior team squash championship on Thursday. A win would have helped India book a knockout berth straightaway but now the boys will have to wait until the outcome of their match against the Koreans tomorrow.

But this was an opportunity that the boys’ almost seized with the great fight they put in. But things turned awry when the moment of joy was just a few points away. It was Utkarsh who set the ball rolling with a rollicking show in the opener against higher ranked Abbas Zeb. The Indian surprised his opponent with a 2-1 lead in game-score and was sitting pretty with 10-6 score in the fourth game. But their he got stuck and Zeb was too clever to let the chance go. Tushar Shahani came next and from 0-2 down in game score fought back splendidly to put it across Mohammad Farhan Hashmi in what a contest of consistency.

The whole tie now hinged on Veer for India and the young Mumbaite rose up to the occasion so it seemed as he won the first two games fighting all the way and then led 9-7 in the third. Haris Qasim looked all down when Veer presented him with some lose strokes. The Pakistani lad pounced on the offer and never looked back., Veer did have another match point in the fourth game but by now Qasim was on different plane, going for every ball and forcing mistakes on his opponent. The Indian fight virtually ended there and then. “A big disappointment”, said national coach Cyrus Poncha on the outcome when everything seemed going well for India.

Meanwhile the Indian girls had something to cheer later in the evening when they beat Singapore 2-1 and now is assured one of the top two places in Pool B and so a knock out berth.

The result:

Boys: Pool A: Pakistan bt India 2-1 ( Abbas Zeb bt Utkarsh Baheti 11-8, 8-11, 7-11, 11-6, 11-9; Haris Qasim bt Veer Chotrani 10-12, 6-11, 12-10, 12-10, 11-6; Mohammad Farhan Hashmi lost to Tushar Shahani 11-9, 11-8, 8-11, 10-12, 5-11) ; India bt Chinese Taipei 3-0 (Utkarsh Baheti bt Chen Wun-Lin 11-3, 11-5, 11-2; Veer Chotrani bt Chu Ching-Hsuan 11-1, 11-9, 11-3; Tushar Shahani bt Pan Shao-Yu 11-3, 11-2, 11-4)

Girls: India bt Singapore 2-1 (Sanya Vats lost to Sneha Sivakumar 12-10, 6-11, 4-11, 10-12; Yoshna Singh bt Keertana Veerayah 11-5, 11-4, 11-9; Amira Singh bt Paige Hill 8-11, 11-2, 11-8,11-7)