AFC CHALLENGE CUP QUALIFIER 2014: INDIA BEAT TAIPEI IN FIRST MATCH.

02.03.2013 : AIFF RELEASE...KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

(AFC CHL ) :: 02.03.2013: CHINEASE TAIPEI   1-2   INDIA (Yangon - FT..)
IND: (Jewel 40', Robin Singh 88') TPI :(Lee Tai Lin 52')
IND : Subrata, Nirmal, Gouramangi, Raju, Gurjinder, Francis (Nabi), Lenny, Mehtab, Clifford, Jewel(Robin), Sunil... India got 10 corners
CHT : Lu Kun Chi, Shan-Fu, Yi Wei, Cheng Yi, Meng Chian, Hung Hsu, Hsing, Yuan, Lee Tai Lin, Kai Chun, He Ming Chan

The day started even before it had begun. The buzz had been building since the last three days and the evening prior after the 'high intensity' practice session, the boys were already in the groove. Football stayed the talk - the AFC Challenge Cup had to 'start on a positive note.'

On the field the pain of the Palestine match and the triumph of the Nehru Cup drove them - learn from the mistakes, get inspired from the positives.

India began their campaign in style as they beat Chinese Taipei 2-1 in their first match of the AFC Challenge Cup 2013 (Qualifiers) at the Yangon Training Centre on Saturday (March 2). Jewel Raja Shaikh put India in the lead in the 40th minute while substitute Robin Singh headed in the winner in the 91st minute. In between, Lee Tai Lin has equalised for Chinese Taipei in the 54th minute.

After a series of raids at the rival citadel, India finally surged ahead in the 40th minute. Jewel who was playing with one-twos with Chhetri with much aplomb slipped past the two rival Central defenders, trapped Chhetri's through with poise and sent it past the rival goalkeeper Lun Kun Chi.

The last 15 minutes prior to the goal, it was all about India. In the 25th minute, Gouramangi Singh followed Clifford Miranda's corner but his header deflected for a corner. The resultant two corners went abegging and then in the 38th minute, Mehtab Hossain's long-ranger was fisted out.

The phase earned India five corners and debutant Gurjinder Kumar came agonisingly close to heading one in but the Almighty found it best to conspire against him - the ball hitting his top of the head and going the other way.

It wasn't about the corners alone. India played to a plan and from the stands it seemed it was tactic-board football on the lush green. The synchronisation was just about perfect with everyone having two options as supports, be it wherever in the field. They were willing to roam around, slow it down, build it from the back and look for the runs and one-twos. Possession once gained was not to be lost. Taipei chased.

Earlier, India began on a cautious note. Not willing to let open much, they were content to play the waiting game. And then slowly, they took control. The midfield played among themselves allowing Chhetri and Jewel to time their runs. Francis Fernandes and Nirmal Chhetri did break free a couple of occasions down the right but the rival defence recovered in time.

This apart, India had two more chances - Raju Gaikwad's throw in the 20th minute dipped alarmingly to beat all in the rival box but the flurry of legs didn't allow any Blue to tap it in and then Mehtab Hossain was set up by Sunil Chhetri inside the rival box but the Taipei goalkeeper Lu Kun Chi anticipated it in time.

Taipei defended and depended on counters and much against the run of play had almost scored in the 11th minute but an alert Subrata Paul was acrobatic enough to tap over a Chen Yi Wei freekick from outside the box. But the complexion changed almost immediately after resumption. Chinese Taipei equalised in the 54th minute - Lee Tai Lin heading in Su De Cai's corner. The goal pushed the Indians on the backfoot and all of a sudden, Taipei, for a brief period, had a bit more of the possession.

But not for long! The Indians regrouped fast. AIFF Player-of-the-Year Syed Rahim Nabi replaced Francis Fernandes in the 68th minute and the Indians seemed to be playing all over by then. But with the entire Taipei team having fallen back by then, breaking through seemed difficult. Wim Koevermans brought on Robin Singh in place of Jewel in the 82nd minute and with India attacking down the middle and the two flanks, the goal seemed inevitable.

The wait ended in the first minute of the extra time when Robin leaped high to head in Nabi's centre from the right. India won 2-1, a "deserving win," as Koevermans said at the post-match PC. The fighting spirit of the boys and the manner they pressed till the dead end deserve praise."It's a big day for us. We need to win," Chhetri had uttered the moment he had stepped out for the breakfast. And they did! India next play Guam on March 4.

117TH IFA SHIELD : The defending champions East Bengal will going to start their journey against Pailan Arrows.

02.03.2013 : JAYDIP DASGUPTA .KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

The defending champions East Bengal will going to start their journey in the 117th IFA shield against the Pailan Arrows at the Kanchenjunga Krianagan. Siliguri is said to be the second home ground of the red and gold and one of the lucky venue as far as the records are concerned. Morgan brigade lifts the Federation Cup from the soil of Siliguri few months back.

East Bengal are now leading in the I league and the Kolkata CFL. Not only that the team seems to be in good form and their coach Trevor James Morgan is optimistic to perform well in the IFA shield too. The red and gold brigade reached Siliguri yesterday afternoon when they are escorted to the team hotel from the Bagdorga Airport by the fans and supporters.

The team will feel the absence of their deep defender Raju Gaikwad, midfielder Mehtab Hossain and striker Robin Singh who are at present busy(who scored the winning goal today ahain Taipei today)with the Indian team for the AFC Challenge Cup. Arnab Mondal after having a successful and impressive season are now nursing his injury at Kolkata. So Morgan will have to depend on Gurbinder and Sunil Kumar along with Uga Opara in the deep defense.

The Pailan Arrows are initially in the Group-B, but they were shifted to the Group A as because the Mumbai FC and Shillong Lazong denied to participate in the 117th IFA sheild. This young talented development team of the AIFF has proved themselves in the Indian football circuit. In fact it may be assumed that they will going to put a strong challenge to the red and gold in the Sunday afternoon.

Bhaichung Bhutia launches BB15 Fitness Studio in Gangtok.

01.03.2013 : KFC. | www.kolkatafootball.com HOME PAGE

Bhaichung Bhutia launches his first fitness studio in Gangtok, Sikkim, first of its kind in North East (India). Bhaichung says fitness has always been a part of my life and with the start of BB15 Fitness Studio-I want people to start taking care of their health and enjoy fitness.

I have brought state of the Art equipment's Technogym to give the very best to people here. I wish to bring about BB15 Fitness studio across other towns and cities in India very soon.