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Hero Super Cup

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Hero Super Cup Trophy (Image Credit: Google)
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Hero Super Cup 2019 Likely To Be Organised At The End Of The Season

The next Hero Super Cup is likely to be organised after the end of India’s domestic football leagues season.

According to Khel Now, the third edition of the Hero Super Cup is likely to begin after the 2019/20 Indian Super League (ISL).

Earlier, Kushal Das, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) General Secretary, claimed that the next Super Cup edition would begin ahead of the domestic leagues season. At that time, they wanted to organise this tournament as a preparatory tournament.

Hero Super Cup, ISL, I-League
Kushal Das (Image Credit: Google)

However, observing the present situation, the AIFF feels that it will be better not to change this tournament’s scheduling at present.

Previous Hero Super Cup was a total disaster

The second edition of the Hero Super Cup (2019) was full of controversies. Just like the inaugural season (2018), the top six I-League and ISL teams directly qualified for that tournament. On the other hand, the next four teams of both those domestic leagues faced the qualification round.

However, just at the beginning of that tournament, many I-League teams withdrew from that tournament. In the qualification round, three I-League teams refused to appear, and those teams were Minerva Punjab, Gokulam Kerala and Aizawl FC.

In the Round of 16 stages, four more I-League teams withdrew from that league. Those teams were East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Churchill Brothers and NEROCA FC. The I-League teams were demanding clarification regarding the future of I-League.

Hero Super Cup, ISL, I-League
East Bengal (Image Credit: Google)

Due to this clutter, the future of the Super Cup came in danger.

Witnessing that disaster, the AIFF was thinking to shift the next edition of the Hero Super Cup to the early of the season.

However, the latest report claims that they are now likely to maintain this tournament in the season end.

ISL team FC Goa won the 2019 Hero Super Cup after beating another ISL side Chennaiyin FC in the final (2-1). Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC won the inaugural edition (2018) of this tournament. In that edition, that ISL team beat the famous I-League club East Bengal in final by 4-1.

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Super Cup: Bengaluru FC eye redemption in final against East Bengal

Bhubaneswar, April 20: Bengaluru FC bid to win a fifth title in as many seasons of the clubs existence, will face one last hurdle in East Bengal as the two sides go to battle in the final of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.

Albert Roca’s Blues who missed out on the ISL title, going down in a final played just a little more than a month ago, have a shot at redemption and the Spanish manager said hunger and confidence is what will propel the Blues’ charge.

“We’ve kept aside the disappointment of not winning the ISL because it won’t do us any good. If anything, it’s made us hungrier to keep alive the tradition of this club to win a trophy every season. 

“The Super Cup final is another chance and we will be going into the game with the right amount of confidence. We’ve been consistent and have had a fantastic season so far. It would be nice to have a trophy for our efforts,” said Roca on the eve of the game.

Bengaluru have been clinical all through the tournament, always finding the answers to come away with a win. The Blues shrugged off the rust to beat Gokulam Kerala FC 2-1 before beating Neroca FC 3-1. Then, in what was a performance for the ages, a ten-man Bengaluru came from a goal down to beat arch rivals Mohun Bagan 4-2 and storm into the final.

East Bengal, on the other hand, have been doing just enough to progress. They started with a 2-1 win over Mumbai City FC and followed it up with 1-0 wins over both Aizawl FC and FC Goa to set up a date with Bengaluru.

Roca brushed aside talk of Bengaluru’s billing as favourites going into the final but hoped his side would get a grip on the game as it progressed. “We have a 50% chance to win this and I’m hoping that as the game wears on, we increase that number. East Bengal will enter the game with a similar belief, so I don’t really make much of that tag we’ve been given.”

The Blues are sweating over the fitness of two vital players in defenders Juanan Gonzalez and Rahul Bheke.

The Spanish centre-half was pulled out of the squad minutes before kick-off against Mohun Bagan, complaining of pain in his rib cage. Bheke, meanwhile, was an early substitution against Neroca FC in the quarter-final after injuring his leg.

“Both of them aren’t 100% ready and I’m hoping that our medical team pulls off a little miracle. What I am certain of though, is that whoever plays in those positions will be completely ready for the job at hand,” said Roca.

East Bengal have an injury concern of their own after striker Dudu Omagbemi, whose goal against FC Goa sent the Kolkata club to the final, left the pitch clutching his hamstring and in visible pain. Roca preferred not to guess whether the Nigerian would make the cut in Khalid Jamil’s squad or not.

“You’re saying he’s out of the fixture, but you never know, Dudu could start the game and score a goal or two. Football is always unpredictable, which is why I’m not going to go about guessing things I have no idea about.”

Dudu aside, Jamil has enough quality in his other foreign players. Katsumi Yusa, Mahmoud Al Amna, Ansumana Kromah and Eduardo Ferreira are all experienced hands who have been part of championship-winning teams.

A free-scoring Bengaluru will hope their lethal attack turns up with the goals yet again. Sunil Chhetri and Miku have both notched hat-tricks in the tournament and Udanta Singh has been causing all sorts of trouble to defenders through the season with his pace and quality of the final ball in the box.

Super Cup: Bengaluru are dangerous in transition: Shankarlal

Bhubaneswar, April 16: Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty is still in awe of the “quality displayed by Bengaluru FC” in last editions Federation Cup final.

Speaking in the official pre-match press conference ahead of Mohun Bagan’s Super Cup semi-final clash against Bengaluru, Chakraborty preferred to walk down memory lane to speak about Bagan’s 0-2 defeat in that match.

“The quality which Bengaluru FC displayed against us in the Hero Federation Cup final last year was splendid,” he recollected.

“Coach Roca changed the formation in the match thrice. I will never forget their one-sided dominance all throughout my life,” he said, adding: “Do not forget that Mohun Bagan were perhaps the best side last season.”

Speaking about Bagan’s rivalry with Bengaluru FC, Chakraborty attributed the match as the “one of the biggest match in Indian Football.”

“But we are prepared for them. In Indian Football, BFC are one of the teams who have the better infrastructure and are one of the best-prepared teams.”

“BFC are very dangerous in their transitions,” Chakraborty maintained. “I hear people talking about their trio of Sunil Chhetri, Miku and Udanta Singh upfront. Yes, they are deadly. But at the same time, you need to be wary about the support from behind,” he pronounced. “We have talked about them in our meetings and practised likewise.”

“Modern Football has changed. You cannot depend on one single player to win you a match. Nowadays, it’s more about a team effort which invariably decides the winning combination. “I have said from day one that in a knockout tournament, it’s all about balancing everything.”

Meanwhile, midfielder Raynier Fernandes said that they are “ready for the challenge.”

“We know it’s a tough match. But we are ready for it.”

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Super Cup: FC Goa thrash Jamshedpur FC to book semifinal berth

Bhubaneswar, April 12: FC Goa thrashed Jamshedpur FC 5-1 in a match which saw six players being sent off at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday to enter the semifinals of the Super Cup.

The Goan outfit will now face East Bengal in the semis on April 16.

Brandon Fernandes (34th), Ferran Corominas (Penalty 69th), Manvir Singh (77th), Hugo Boumous (78th; 89th) scored the goals for Goa while it was Ashim Biswas scored the lone consolation goal for Jamshedpur FC (90 + 2′).

Jamshedpur got a good chance early on through Haitian Kervens Belfort, but Laxmikant Kattimani made a brilliant save to keep him at bay in the 11th minute.

It was Brandon Fernandes of Goa who drew first blood when he made a fine 40-yard run and beat two Jamshedpur defenders to lob the ball beating the experienced Subrata Paul in the 34th minute.

Soon after, Jamshedpur had a chance to equalise through Belfort who failed to find the back of the net.

In first half stoppage time, a brilliant pass from Brandon found Spanish teammate Ferran Corominas but the latter couldn’t convert.

The second half began with eight players taking the field from either side, after a brawl that broke between both the teams at the end of the first half.

The referee sent off six players (3 from each side) from the field of play.

Subrata, Haitian Kervens Belfort, Anas Edathodika from Jamshedpur and Brandon, Spanish duo of Bruno Pinheiro & Sergio Marin from FC Goa were sent off on the red card.

Goa were clearly the dominating side in the second half consistently making it to the Jamshedpur FC box.

Goa, who were consistently attacking all throughout couldn’t really capitalise on their lead until a reckless tackle by Jamshedpur’s Brazilian midfielder Emerson Moura on Ferran Coromino led to a penalty to the Goan side.

Ferran made no mistake in converting it, giving his team a 2-0 lead.

Thereafter Goa played with ease striking twice in a span of two minutes through Manvir Singh and French midfielder Hugo Boumos giving a comfortable lead of 4-0 to his team.

Boumos scored again in the 89th minute giving Goa a huge 5-0 lead in the game.

Jamshedpur finally found consolation through a goal from Ashim Biswas in the stoppage time.

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Super Cup : Mohun Bagan overcome Lajong 3-1 to book semis berth

Bhubaneswar, April 11: Mohun Bagan got the better of fellow I-League side Shillong Lajong 3-1 in the second quarter-finals of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday.

Goals from S.K. Faiaz, Nikhil Kadam and an own goal by Shillong’s Liberian defender Laurence Doe, ensured Mohun Bagan a place in the semi-final.

On April 17 they will take on the winners of the Friday quarterfinal between Bengaluru FC and Neroca FC.

Both Mohun Bagan coach Shankarlal Chakraborty and Shillong’s interim Head Coach Alison Kharsyntiew fielded identical 4-4-2 formations.

Mohun Bagan played Faiaz on the left wing and Nikhil Kadam on the right to start with and had Camerronian sniper Dipanda Dicka and Lebanese Akram Moghrabi in the attack.

While Shillong fielded Phurba Lachenpa in goal in place of Nidhin Lal, who had a brilliant Round of 16 game, and were attacking upfront with 19-year old Captain Samuel Lalmuanpuia playing just behind Ivory Coast’s Abdoulaye Koffi.

Mohun Bagan began as the more aggressive even as the first shot at goal came off the feet of Samuel for Shillong as early as the fourth minute.

Faiaz then gave Mohun Bagan the lead in the 12th minute, which set off a very exciting next 15 minutes. Japanese mid-fielder Yuta Kinowaki passed ahead to Dipanda Dicka outside the box who chipped inside to Faiaz.

The winger chest-trapped it down and then got a second bite of the cherry despite being closed down by two Lajong defenders. His kick on the turn and while going to ground beat Lachenpa as the ball slotted into the right corner.

Ten minutes later, Doe headed a Faiaz cross clear, but only as far as Nikhil Kadam, 30-35 yards outside the Shillong penatly area.

Nikhil trapped and unleashed a curling left footer which beat Lachenpa all ends up and went in off the underside of the bar and came out. After some initial confusion, referee Santhosh Bhaskaran rightly blew to signal Mohun Bagan were 2-0 ahead.

The excitement continued as in the 25th minute, Bhaskaran adjudjed Kingshuk Debnath to have brought down Samuel inside the Bagan box and pointed to the spot. Samuel’s shot was saved by the experienced Bagan keeper Shilton Paul.

In the 28th minute however, Shillong got their goal back, when a chip from the mid-field found Samuel inside the box, whose lobbed voley while going to ground and with his back to the goal, was headed over Shilton’s hands by an onrushing Koffi.

Bagan went into the lemon break maintaining their one goal advantage.

A young Shillong side’s game was clearly in the ascendancy in the first quarter of the second half as they were attacking purposelfully and created a few good chances. All that changed in the 60thminute, when talented right back Arijit Bagui on the overlap, floated in a cross aimed at Moghrabi inside the Lajong box.

Both Akram and Doe went for the ball with different purposes, but unfortunately for Doe, his header in trying to clear the ball lodged inside the Shillong goal.

The goal came against the run of play but Mohun Bagan took complete control after this and went on the charge taking smart advantage of the two-goal cushion.

Shillong Lajong FC tried to put together a few attacks in the last moments of the game and Abdoulaye Koffi got a chance to pull back a goal in the injury time as well but Mohun Bagan managed to hold on till the end and the match ended with the score at 3-1.

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Super Cup: FC Goa down ATK 3-1 to move to quarters

Bhubaneswar April4: FC Goa proved to be too hot for ATK as they beat them 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals of the Super Cup here on Tuesday.

Goa drew first blood through Spanish forward Ferran Corominas (45’+1′) in the dying moments of the first half.

ATK came back stronger in the second half to equalize via their captain cum manager Robert Keane (50′) but couple of strikes within a span of 10 minutes from Goa through Hugo Boumous (69′) and Brandon Fernandes (77′) ensured that the Goan team faces their Hero Indian Super League opponent Jamshedpur FC in the quarterfinal encounter.

The first half of the game between ATK and FC Goa began on an attacking note, with ATK managing a corner within the first minute but a poor shot ensured they stay eluded from gathering a lead early in the game.

The Keane-led Kolkata outfit went on to show their intent, consistently attacking on the Goan post, twice getting extremely close, but the lack of a good finish denied them from an early lead.

Goa started on their forward move a little late but the story wasn’t much different at their end as well, until a pass from Brandon Fernandes to their unmarked Spanish forward Ferran Corominas (45′ + 1′), ensured that the Goan team stamp their authority in the game taking a lead during injury time.

The first half of the game came to end with FC Goa leading 1-0 against ATK.

The second half began with ATK again leading the attack with an equalizer in the 50th minute from their captain. There after ATK kept pressing hard for a lead but the Goan defence did not allow them to break in.

Goa again started slowly but struck early when a brilliant lofted pass from Corominas at the center line to French Hugo Boumous in the 69th minute, saw the French make a beautiful run to the ATK box making no mistakes in finding the back of the net bringing back FC Goa in the lead.

It also struck through Brandon Fernandes in the 77th minute to ensure it finished the game with a 3-1 win.

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MatchPreview: Super Cup; Lajong test for FC Pune City

Bhubaneswar, April 3: Indian Super League semi-finalists FC Pune City are ‘smart enough and intelligent’ to swing the tie against Shillong Lajong FC when they face-off in the Super Cup Round of 16 at the Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday.

Pune’s Serbian coach Ranko Popovic said they ‘have to be top of the game’ to get the better of the ‘young and smart’ Shillong Lajong FC.

“It is a completely different competition. We had an amazing season having finished in the semifinals of Hero ISL. This is going be a key battle on the pitch tomorrow. We have to stay motivated to get the result in our way,” he said.

“I believe, we are enough smart and intelligent to get the job done. Meanwhile, we have a fair knowledge of their credentials and we know how much damage they can do. We have to absolutely at the top of our game to proceed further,” the 50-year-old coach added.

On being asked whether Pune will kick-off as the favourites on Wednesday, Popovic brushed it aside, “We have big respect for them. The league standing is not important and it’s history now. A team always pushes their limits when there is only one match to prove their mettle.”

“Lajong has a perfect blend of young as well as experienced players. On the other hand, what made us strong this season is our collective team effort. We’ll stick to our philosophy to overcome our next hurdle,”, Popovic analysed their opponents in front of the media.

“We want to thanks our amazing fans for supporting us throughout. We had the best season in our club’s history and now we want to make it memorable winning this trophy. We want to give something back to the supporters and this one is the perfect occasion to get it done”, he showed his gratitude towards the FC Pune City fans.

Lajong interim coach Alison Kharsyntiew, meanwhile said he sees this a ‘great exposure’ for the young bunch of players and expressed that they are positively looking forward to nothing less than a win.

“It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against a team like FC Pune City. We have built our team with a young bunch of players. It’s a great opportunity for them to gain experience and a good exposure as well. We’re looking forward to nothing less than a win tomorrow,” the coach sounded confident ahead of the enticing tie.

The heat and the humidity of Bhubaneswar might take a toll on the Lajong players and that’s what giving Alison a sleepless night.

“Yes, the heat and the humidity is an issue. But, we are here to compete and we’re working hard to put up a good fight. We are not here to give lame excuses,” he said.

“We are putting extra effort into maintaining the fitness level throughout. Nutrition and hydration are very important to combat the humidity and we’re taking care of those aspects”, the Lajong asst. coach mentioned.

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Super Cup: Jamshedpur ride goalie’s heroics to edge past Minerva in tiebreaker

Bhubaneswar, April 3: Jamshedpur FC rode on young goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh’s heroics to put it across I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out and take their place in quarterfinals of the Super Cup here.

In the fourth Round of 16 match of the tournament, being played at the Kalinga stadium Sanjiban affected at least 8-9 saves throughout the 120 minutes of the match and then put the icing on the cake with two more saves in the sudden death tie-breaker to emerge the undisputed hero of the match on Monday.

Minerva, who were clearly the better team in the match, were left ruing their missed chances in the game, including an opportunity to close the game out in the tie-breaker.

The game began with Minerva lining up a 4-3-3 formation, going in with a seemingly potent strike force of Ghanian William Asiedu, the young and talented Girik Khosla and Chencho Geyltshen upfront.

Jamshedpur went in with their strong four-man defence led by India star Anas, and Brazilians Trindade Goncalves and Wellington Priori making up the attack engine in the central midfield, with Haitian Belfort and Farukh Choudhary tasked to do all the running in and around the Minerva penalty box.

After a listless first 20 minutes, the game opened up when Anas brought down Chencho in a dangerous area outside the Jamshedpur box. Asiedu’s free kick rebounded off goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh, and fell tantalizingly at the feet of an on-rushing Deepak Devrani. The defender, with only a fallen goalkeeper to beat, lobbed over.

Then in the 26th minute, off a Robin Gurung cross from the left flank, the ball found a faint deflection from a diving Farukh, fell invitingly at the feet of Belfort, who muffed his shot to allow Bikash to unleash a curling left footer, which beat Kiran Limbu all ends up but could not beat the Minerva upright.

Chencho and the young midfielder Akash Sangwan then got involved prominently in the game. Chencho first had a long ranger comfortably saved by Sanjiban and then from an Akash Sangwan ball into the box, he could not manage to wrap his legs around the ball eventually, with only the goalkeeper ahead of him.

Akash’s second beauty of the half, found Girik Khosla one on one with the keeper again, but the forward’s shot was saved ably by Sanjiban, who had a brilliant game.

The half ended with a booking for the experienced Anas, when he went into referee Santhosh’s book for a second cynical tackle in the game, this time on Girik Khosla, just outside the Jamshedpur box.

Although possession was even, Minerva clearly ended the half, the stronger side.

The second half mirrored the first in terms of Minerva having the better chances and looking the stronger side, although possession remained divided equally.

The best chance of the half, came in the 56th minute, with Chencho and Akash Sangwan again at the heart of it.

Just after Jamshedpur affected the first substitutions of the match, a double change, bringing in Sumeet Passi for Farukh Choudhary and Karan Amin for Yumnam Raju, Chencho had another shot on target in the 74th minute, Minerva’s fifth of the match, but it was the Jamshedpur custodian to the rescue again.

Minerva finished with two more chances going a begging, Chencho hitting the side netting and this time Bali Gagandeep (brought in in the 77th minute for Girik Khosla) having his shot saved by Sanjiban.

Sumeet Passi converted Jamshedpur’s fifth to put them ahead 4-3 and Kamalpreet then cooly converted for the Punjab side to get into sudden death.

Kiran Limbu then stopped Bikash Jairu’s power drive and the Minerva’s goalkeeper then opted to seal the issue himself, but Sanjiban extended his brilliant day with a crucial save.

The experienced Mehtab Hussain then converted cheekily and Sanjiban blocked Bali Gangandeep’s shot for Minerva and it rebounded off the post to send Jamshedpur FC into ecstasy and the Super Cup quarterfinals.

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Super Cup: BFC clinch exciting win over Gokulam

Bhubaneswar, April2: Bengaluru FC (BFC) clinched a hard fought 2-1 win over Gokulam Kerala FC in an exciting, fast paced Super Cup match here on Sunday.

Henry Kisekka (33rd minute) had given Gokulam the lead with a wonderful strike in the first half.

But BFC made a strong comeback to dominate the second half as Nicolas Fedor (69th minute) found the equaliser before Udanta Singh (90+4) scored the winner deep into the second half added time.

It was a saga of two halves as Gokulam, who finished seventh in this season’s I-League, outshone the Indian Super League (ISL) runners-up in the first half.

They were fast and incisive in attack while the defence did well to shut out most of the BFC attacks.

Although BFC skipper Sunil Chettri managed to beat the Gokulam defence on a couple of occasions, an excellent tackle by defender Emmanuel Chigozie and a superb save by goalkeeper Nikhil Barnard kept the I-League outfit’s citadel intact.

Gokulam took a well deserved lead when a fantastic build-up culminated in a well directed through to Henry Kisekka.

The Ugandan striker controlled the ball well before producing an excellent finish to beat BFC custodian Gurpreet Singh in a one-on-one situation.

The second half however, was a different story altogether as a determined BFC dominated proceedings from start to finish.

Gokulam were forced on to the backfoot and kept the repeated BFC attacks at bay with some desperate defending and a few superb saves by Barnard.

However, BFC’s sustained pressure finally bore result off a counter-attack when Udanta Singh’s scorching pace down the right flank and subsequent cutback to an unmarked Fedor beat a couple of Gokulam defenders.

With the Gokulam defence woefully out of position, Fedor had all the time and space in the world to place the ball past Barnard.

BFC continued to attack relentlessly but the tough Gokulam defence held firm.

But Udanta finally broke their brave resistance in virtually the last minute of injury time when he found the target off a square pass by Fedor.

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MatchPreview: Super Cup; Churchill face tough task against Bagan

Bhubaneswar, April1: Churchill Brothers FC have left the euphoria of overcoming Delhi Dynamos FC in the Super Cup qualifiers and they’re looking forward to facing Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan in their campaign opener here on Sunday.
“Yes, we got the sweeter result the other day but it’s a new test tomorrow. We have played Mohun Bagan twice this season but couldn’t garner a single point. We are aware of their football acumen and we respect them”, Churchill coach Alfred Fernandes said.

Newly-recruited striker Willis Plaza bombed a brace in the qualifiers to propel Churchill into the tournament proper and he will be the ‘trump card’ for the Goan outfit on Sunday as well.

“Yes, you might term him as our trump card. We are in the hunt for the attacking spearhead and he fitted the bill perfectly. But, at the end of the day, it’ll be a team effort and we need to get the job done collectively,” the coach said.

Churchill finished second best twice against Mohun Bagan in the Hero I-League and now they are aiming to improve their record.

Skipper Osagie Monday asserted that the Churchill players have special plans for their Mohun Bagan counterparts including striker Dipanda Dicka who has ended up with the maximum number of goals in two consecutive I-League seasons.

“Yes, I know him (Dicka) very well. We played them twice and we all know how dangerous he can be in the box. We are very keen to prove our diligence tomorrow. Dicka is a great player but there are other players too who can be equally dangerous. We have plans not only for him but everyone,” he said.

Mohun Bagan’s upsurge in the I-League started late which brought them very close to the title but finally, their saga didn’t end with the top honours.

Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty and his team has now shifted their focus to the Super Cup and are now ready for the fresh challenge.

“It’s a tough match tomorrow. The tournament is different from I-League. A silly mistake can dent your journey heavily and it might end your path in the tournament as well. Churchill had a terrific game against Delhi Dynamos in the qualifier, far superior to their performance in the I-League and we have to be very cautious tomorrow,” Chakraborty said.

Although his team had left the pitch with two wins in the I-League against Churchill, the coach believes that they are a transformed side who might pose a stiff challenge on Sunday.

“Whatever we did in the I-League, is past and we have already flipped the page. I-league is history and we have to focus on tomorrow’s game now. Churchill played an excellent game against Delhi Dynamos in the qualifier and we have to respect that,” he said.

On being asked to single out a player who might give him a sleepless night, Chakraborty said: “They brought in Plaza and he might wreak havoc on a given day. Foreigners akin to Plaza, Ceesay, Monday are well supported by the Indian players and it has been a dangerous team to play against.”