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ISL: FC Goa start campaign against Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru FC | Football News

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MARGAO: A new-look FC Goa, strengthened with the addition of new foreign players and a new head coach, will begin their Indian Super League campaign with a new 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 played 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 handy in their bid to at least reach the play-offs stage.
FC Goa would bank on their Spanish lethal striker Igor Angulo proves 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.
But Goa has an array of strong mid-fielders, the prominent among 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.
On the other hand, Bengaluru, who have won the ISL once, would also be hoping for a winning start and 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 prolific Chhetri can turn a game on its head single handedly and with a strong support cast, BFC will be hard to beat.
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 key strikers Cleiton Silva, Kristian Opseth.



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Australia vs India: Rohit, Ishant were not scheduled to fly to Australia; misinformation being spread: BCCI | Cricket News

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MUMBAI: Reacting to the controversy that Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma will not be joining the Indian team in Australia for the Test matches, the BCCI has clarified saying: “Rohit and Ishant were anyways not part of the squad. An 18-member team was announced for the four Tests. Now that Virat (Kohli) is returning, we’re hoping Shreyas Iyer will stay back for the series”.
TOI understands that Rohit’s fitness assessment has been scheduled for December 11, following which it will be decided if he is fit to play a Test match.
“But the problem is that there’s a 14-day mandatory state quarantine in Australia. Even if he is allowed to travel on the 12th, how will he fly? There are no commercial flights. And even if he manages to fly, he has to undergo the two-week solitary quarantine. When will he be available, subject to fitness,” say those tracking developments. “We all knew he was never going to fly.”

Had Rohit wanted to play the Tests and was confident of being ruled fit, he should have flown with the rest of the team on November 12.
There are those in the BCCI who say “Rohit was expected to board the flight with the rest of the team on November 12. But he chose not to and instead headed to the National Cricket Academy (NCA).”
Now, given the BCCI’s own rules, the NCA has to assess Rohit’s fitness before he can be proved fit to play a Test match.
“Nobody in the BCCI knows who asked Rohit to head to the NCA. Was it his own decision?” says the BCCI, further adding that “onus is now on the NCA to take a call”.

There are those who believe had Rohit flown with the rest of the team to Australia and rehabilitated there, he would have been fit to participate in the second Test because he would have undergone the mandatory quarantine.
“Whatever the confusion, it has dented the team’s preparations. Virat has to return because it’s personal and very important. Rohit had done the same on the previous Test (tour) of Australia. It’s unfortunate that the team will suffer for lack of communication,” say those in the know.
BCCI sources say that Rohit and Ishant were never going to travel to Australia, “so if anybody has been trying to spread misinformation, it’s really sad”.
In Ishant’s case, this is a decision that was taken close to a month ago when NCA director Rahul Dravid wrote to the BCCI office-bearers saying “Ishant will require close to four weeks to be fit and another three to four weeks to train before he can retain match-fitness”, thus conveying that it would be December 17 (start of the first Test) by the time he would find himself fully fit.

“But then, he has to undergo a 14-day quarantine. What’s the point? And solitary quarantine can drive anyone crazy. By the time he regains any sanity, three Tests will be over. Does the team really need this?” say those tracking developments.
TOI understands that a senior BCCI official called Rohit and informed the cricketer that he would be travelling to Australia soon after Virat Kohli’s return but the batsman knew he had to take a break.
“It was never BCCI’s decision. We have no idea who is doing this,” say those in the know.


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Olivier Giroud fires Chelsea into Champions League last 16 | Football News

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RENNES: Chelsea reached the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday with two matches to spare after a late Olivier Giroud strike gave the Blues a 2-1 win over Rennes.
The France forward’s powerful header in stoppage time snatched the points for Frank Lampard‘s side after Serhou Guirassy had levelled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s first-half opener.
Chelsea were joined in the next round by Group E rivals Sevilla after the Spanish side won 2-1 at Krasnodar.
Both sides are on 10 points, nine ahead of third-placed Krasnodar and will now do battle for first place come the end of the group stage.
Chelsea can concentrate on domestic duties, with Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur visiting Stamford Bridge at the weekend, thanks to out-of-favour Giroud, who has been tipped to leave in January as he seeks more regular football ahead of next summer’s European Championship.
“I have a problem because we have Tammy who’s playing well… I have two players in a similar position fighting for a place. That’s a good problem,” Lampard told British broadcaster BT Sport.
“Olly (Giroud) will get his minutes because we have a busy schedule, we’re playing every few days.”
Chelsea started strongly and should have been ahead as early as the seventh minute, when Timo Werner flashed Hudson-Odoi’s low cross over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Their early dominance was rewarded in the 22nd minute following superb play from Mason Mount, who won the ball near his own area before spotting the marauding Hudson-Odoi on the right.
Mount picked out his fellow Chelsea academy graduate with a long pass. The winger took two touches before slotting past Alfred Gomis.
England international Mount was unlucky not to double the away side’s lead eight minutes later when Gomis pulled off a superb save to keep out his close-range effort following a Ben Chilwell pull-back.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a quiet start to his return to the club from whom Chelsea signed him in the summer, but the hosts got a foothold in the contest after a rocky opening period.
James Lea Siliki shot over in the 32nd minute after the ball rebounded to him off Kurt Zouma. Rennes then began to cause Chelsea some problems.
Mendy showed the difference he has made to Chelsea with solid saves from Guirassy and Damien Da Silva towards the end of the opening period.
Chelsea thought they had added a second shortly after the break but Werner’s header was ruled offside and Rennes continued to pose them problems.
Mendy made the save of the night in the 73rd minute when he got his body in the way of a powerful Gerzino Nyamsi header, and then pounced to stop a goal on the rebound.
Rennes thought they had punished Chelsea with five minutes remaining when an unmarked Guirassy thumped a header past Mendy.
But Giroud pounced less than a minute into stoppage time after Gomis’ save from another Werner miss bounced up, allowing the Frenchman to head Chelsea into the last 16.


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Champions League: Barcelona stroll into last 16 after thrashing Dynamo Kiev | Football News

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KIEV: Barcelona qualified for the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare on Tuesday as Martin Braithwaite scored twice in a 4-0 win over Dynamo Kiev.
Lionel Messi was among a handful of key players rested for Barca but Braithwaite’s double, as well as goals from Sergino Dest and substitute Antoine Griezmann saw the Catalans safely through, joining Juventus in progressing from Group G.
First and second place are still to be settled, with Barcelona playing away at Ferencvaros next week before a potential decider at home to Juve, who beat the Hungarian side 2-1 in Turin thanks to a late Alvaro Morata winner.
“We’ve achieved our objective,” said Ronald Koeman. “We looked hungry and scored four goals. Important players were able to rest and the youngsters have deserved their minutes.”
After taking maximum points from their first three games, Koeman took the chance to rotate in Kiev as Messi and Frenkie de Jong were left out of the squad completely while Jordi Alba and Griezmann were both on the bench.
Instead, Koeman named a youthful line-up that included a senior debut for Oscar Mingueza in central defence, with Francisco Trincao, Pedri and Carles Alena also given chances to impress.
Konrad de la Fuente and Matheus Fernandes were also handed debuts late on.
There will certainly be tougher opponents than Dynamo to navigate but the 21-year-old Mingueza was composed and may be trusted again given Barcelona’s current shortage in defence. Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo are all out injured.
“He’s shown that we can count on him,” said Koeman.
Braithwaite certainly did his case no harm by taking his total number of goals for Barca from one to three in 13 minutes, the second a penalty, and a deserved return for a tireless performance up front.
Victory also continues Barca’s excellent form in Europe, which comes in stark contrast to their struggles in La Liga, where they sit 12th in the table following Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid.
Dynamo were also depleted, without their top scorer Viktor Tsyhankov, who was ill, and they never really threatened their opponents like they did in the return fixture last month.
They will now battle Ferencvaros for third place and qualification for the Europa League.
Barcelona dominated the ball in the first half but were unable to breach a determined Dynamo defence, even if there was little threat from the home side, even on the break.
The opening goal came from an unlikely source as Dest fired a pass into Alena and while the ball was returned to Braithwaite on the edge of the box, Dest took over, carrying it into his stride and shooting into the far corner for his first goal for the club.
Braithwaite’s time would come five minutes later as he finished off Alena’s corner at the back post and then he made it three from the penalty spot, after being pushed in the back by Denys Popov as he tried to head in Alba’s cross.
Popov had already blazed wide what was perhaps Dynamo’s best chance at the back post while Koeman had made changes bringing on Griezmann, Alba and Riqui Puig.
Puig should have added a fourth but skied Dest’s cutback over before Griezmann did, capping a lively cameo by driving in and rounding off a comfortable victory.


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