New Delhi, October 23, 2018: The 12th edition of Hero I-League – India’s top football league, was officially launched at a glittering ceremony in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.
The premier football league of the country that kicks off on October 26, 2018, will see 11 teams battling it out for the top honours over a period of six months. This season, fans will witness for the first time top-flight football entering the valley state of Jammu & Kashmir with Real Kashmir FC making its much-awaited debut. Real Kashmir FC was recently promoted to the Hero I-league after a stupendous run and title win in the second division league last season.
The Hero I-League, the country’s premier football league boasts of a larger presence this year with teams representing all parts of the country viz; North, South, East & West.
A total of 11 teams covering 10 states would be seen battling it out for the top honours of the country’s premier football league.
The Hero I-League this year will be broadcast LIVE & Exclusive on the Star Sports Network and their digital platform Hotstar along with Jio TV. The 12th edition will also be rewarding for the players with significant prize money at stake for the top teams – Winners (Rs 1 Crore), Runners-Up (Rs 60 Lakh), Third Place (Rs 40 Lakhs) and Fourth Place (Rs 25 Lakhs).
“We are very happy to welcome Real Kashmir FC to the league. The pan Indian presence of the League has been its unique feature in the last few editions. Furthermore, with the valley state entering top-flight football this season, the Hero I-League yet again stands true testimony to how it has played a critical role in spreading the game to all corners of the country,” said Praful Patel, President, All India Football Federation.
“The Hero I-League has been scouting and nurturing current and future stars of Indian Football over the years. This year we have 11 teams from 10 states fighting for the top honours in the 12th edition. I wish luck to all the participating teams,” Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation stated.
Commenting on the occasion Pawan Munjal, Chairman, MD and CEO Hero MotoCorp said, “Hero is today one of the largest corporate promoters of sports, particularly football. Hero MotoCorp is the Title Sponsor of all the domestic football leagues in the country, in addition to being the Sponsor of the Indian football teams for both men and women across age groups. This is in keeping with our commitment to play the role of a catalyst in growing the game of football. I welcome the Real Kashmir FC team to the Hero I-league this year and look forward to seeing some high-quality football from all the participating clubs.”
The 11 teams from 10 states of the 12th Hero I-League are – Defending Champions Minerva Punjab FC (Punjab), Aizawl FC (Mizoram), NEROCA FC (Manipur), Shillong Lajong FC (Meghalaya), Mohun Bagan & Quess East Bengal (West Bengal), Gokulam Kerala FC (Kerala), Churchill Brothers FC Goa (Goa), Indian Arrows, Chennai City FC (Tamil Nadu), Real Kashmir FC (Jammu & Kashmir)
The first match will kick off on October 26, 2018 between Chennai City FC and Indian Arrows at Coimbatore from 17:00 hrs onwards.
Finch expects ‘no issues’ with Smith, Warner’s return
London: Australian skipper Aaron Finch has welcomed the return of Steve Smith and David Warner into the national squad, saying that the duo’s comeback would not be of any issues to the team.
Former skipper Smith and vice-captain Warner are all set to make a return to the international arena after being named in the 15-member Australian squad for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup, which is slated to take place in England and Wales from May 30 to July 14.
Smith and Warner are currently playing for Rajasthan and Hyderabad respectively in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after serving their one-year bans for their role in the ball-tampering scandal that took place in South Africa in March 2018.
Reflecting on their return, Finch said that the pair had done everything they were asked for in the last couple of months and, therefore, there would be no problem with Smith and Warner coming into the side.
“As far as I’m concerned, they’ve done everything they’ve been asked in this last 12 months. They were very good around the group and continuing to do everything they can, that’s in the best interests of the side, and that’s a real key,” the ICC quoted Finch as saying.
“Knowing them both personally as well as I do, I don’t think that will be any kind of issue whatsoever. They’re both great guys and I can’t see there being any kinds of issues,” he added.
Echoing similar views, chief selector Trevor Hohns said that the duo’s reintegration into the team would be seamless.
“I’m quite comfortable and quite confident that they know what is expected and they know the environment they are stepping into, which is quite different to when they left,” he said.
Hohns further expressed confidence that Smith and Warner would cope well with the potential backlashing from English crowds.
“Probably going to England there will certainly be a little bit of aggro.I’m sure everyone expects that, particularly the two players themselves. The team will come in for a bit of heckling I would say,” he said.
Australia will kickstart their campaign at the 2019 ICC World Cup against Afghanistan on June 1.
Ajax eliminate Ronaldo’s Juventus with scintillating display
TURIN: Ajax Amsterdam followed up their elimination of Real Madrid by producing a spell-binding display of inventive, passing football to win 2-1 away to Juventusand end the Serie A team`s dreams of winning the Champions League.
Ajax`s 19-year-old captain Matthijs de Ligt headed the winner from the corner in the 67th minute of the quarter-final second leg as the Dutch side came from behind to clinch a 3-2 aggregate win and reach the last four for the first time since 1996/97.
Cristiano Ronaldo, aiming for a fourth successive Champions League title after winning the last three with Real Madrid, put Juventus ahead in the 28th minute with a typically emphatic header, his sixth goal of the competition.
But Donny van de Beek levelled six minutes later before the visitors swept Juventus aside in the second half with wave after wave of attacks as they earned a semi-final against Manchester City or Tottenham Hotspur.
“Can we can go on to win the competition? Well, we are in the semi-finals now. And we have eliminated two of the favourites in the last two rounds. The next games will be very difficult, but so were these ones. So who knows?,” said De Ligt.
Frenkie de Jong added: “We dominated after the break and were well worth our victory. In fact, we probably should have won by more.”
Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana gave his team an early scare when his clearance was charged down by Emre Can but the rebound flew wide.
Ajax settled well after that but, despite not playing well, Juventus went ahead when Ronaldo got away from the defenders to score the 126th Champions League goal of his career.
There was a long delay for the VAR review, the referee eventually going to the pitchside monitor with the ball back on the centre circle ready for the re-start, before the goal was confirmed.
Ajax kept their cool and took six minutes to level, helped by a somewhat lucky break.
Hakim Ziyech`s long-range shot hit a defender and fell perfectly for Van de Beek who, unmarked and onside, slotted the ball calmly past Wojciech Szczesny, and then had to wait for another long VAR check before the goal was confirmed.
Ajax took complete control in the second half and their geometric passing repeatedly opened up the Juventus defence, which sorely missed injured veteran Giorgio Chiellini.
Szczesny made one-handed save from Ziyech after Juventus were opened up again and then turned Van de Beek
s curling shot over for a corner. Juventus were rocking but, ironically, Ajaxs winner came from an old-fashioned header as De Ligt outjumped two defenders to score.
Ajax had chances for further goals and Ronaldo`s frustration boiled over in stoppage time when he was booked for a lunging tackle from behind near the centre circle.
Acosta parts ways with East Bengal
New Delhi: Acosta had joined the Kolkata club in July 2018, right after participating in the FIFA World Cup in Russia, where he was a regular starter for Costa Rica. His signing created quite a stir in the Indian transfer market as he was also the first big-name acquisition after investors Quess Corp came on board at East Bengal.
Today I want to thank this great club that I was part of this season, Quess East Bengal. I feel very fortunate to have been part of the club where I only received samples of affection and respect. I say goodbye happy and with the satisfaction of knowing that in each game I gave the best of me, I sweated my shirt with the aim of providing my best version in each game. The objective will always be the same, but now with another course. Thanks to the great support of their fans to whom I thank in the same way all the love given in this time, I carry them in my heart, they are the best. Thanks for everything. @eastbengalfc
The defender lived up to the expectations and became an overnight sensation among the club fans. He made his debut for East Bengal in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) 2018 Kolkata derby. He marked his arrival at the club by scoring a goal against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
Acosta went on to play 18 matches in the I-League and created a solid defensive partnership with Spanish central defender Borja Gomez Perez.
At the end of the ongoing season, there were rumours going around that the Costa Rican would not be a part of East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez’s plans for next season.
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