Vasco (Goa), Jan 30: Giant-slayers Real Kashmir FC are in with a chance to go top of the points table if they secure a win over second-placed Churchill Brothers in their I-League clash hereThursday.
Both teams shared the spoils in the first-leg match at the TRC stadium in Srinagar, with the game ending in a 0-0 stalemate.
Churchill and Kashmir are tied on 28 points after 14 matches but the home team is ahead on the back of a better goal difference.
Debutants Real Kashmir have proven to be quite dogged defensively and have not tasted defeat in the last couple of months owing to clever strategic switches in the team brought about by their Scottish coach David Robertson.
They will, however, miss the services of Ivorian Gnohere Krizo, who scored the winner in the last game against table-toppers Chennai and has been an important influence in their attack.
On being asked about Krizo, Robertson said, “Krizo has been suspended so it can affect the game.””In our last match, we overpowered Chennai but tomorrow’s game will be difficult. We are focusing on one game at a time. Churchill is a good team to play against. The next six matches will be difficult as all the top teams are good,” he added.
That second win over Chennai by Kashmir has thrown the title race wide open. Kashmir have conceded only seven goals so far, with eight clean sheets.
They are the best defensive side in the league and they have proven that again and again.
Churchill Brothers, on the other hand, have impressed one and all with their relentless attacking displays and as a result, it is set up for a cracker at the Tilak Maidan.
Churchill, aspiring for a third Hero I-League triumph, are at their best this season, having been beaten only twice. They have won eight matches and drawn four.
More importantly, Churchill, under the guidance of Romanian coach Petre Gigiu, have demonstrated some attractive football and apart from Plaza’s sublime goal-scoring form, Gambian playmaker Dawda Cessay has also been in excellent touch this season.
Churchill have scored 26 goals this season and are the second highest goal-scoring team after Chennai City, who lead with 31 goals.
According to Churchill Brothers coach Petre Gigiu, “Every game is very important because if we lose any game right now, we will be out of the title race. We need to be in the fight and our next match is going to be a tough match.”
We stand united with our soldiers: All-party resolution
No call for calm in it disappoints Omar
New Delhi, Feb 16: All political parties of India Saturday put up a united face and expressed their “determination” to fight militancy following the Lethpora attack, underlining their solidarity with security forces for “defending the country’s unity and integrity”.
A meeting of all political parties, including the BJP and the Congress, passed a resolution condemning the attack and alleged support being given to it from across the border.
The all-party meeting took place in the aftermath of one of the biggest attacks on government forces on Thursday on the highway near Lethpora in Awantipora town, in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed.
Militant organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed the responsibility for it stating that a local recruit of its carried out the attack.
The resolution did not name Pakistan but asserted that India has been facing the “menace of cross-border terrorism” which of late, it added, is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border.
The meeting was convened by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Condemning the attack, the resolution reiterated that India has displayed firmness and resilience in tackling it.
The parties vowed to stand with the families in their hour of grief.
“…Of late, terrorism in India is being actively encouraged by forces from across the border, India has displayed firmness and resilience in dealing with these challenges. The entire nation speaks in one voice to express its determination to fight these challenges. We stand united in solidarity with our security forces in fighting terrorism, defending India’s unity and integrity,” read the resolution passed at the all-party meeting.
The meeting was attended by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien of the TMC, Sanjay Raut of the Shiv Sena, Jithendra Reddy of the TRS, D Raja of the CPI, Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference, Ram Vilas Paswan of the LJP among others.
Naresh Gujral of the Akali Dal, Upendra Kushwaha of the RLSP and Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav are among others who attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed his displeasure with the resolution.
Taking to social networking site Twitter, Omar wrote: “Disappointed the resolution did not include a call for calm. Reports of violence in Jammu & tension in university/college campuses in some states, I would have expected an appeal for calm to have gone with the condemnation & condolences.”
Army officer killed in IED blast along Rajouri LoC
Srinagar, Feb 16: An army officer was killed and a soldier suffered injuries on Saturday while defusing and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on Line of Control in Rajouri.
The Major-rank officer was defusing the IED which had been allegedly planted by militants. The officer is from the Corps of Engineers.
The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, officials said.
The IED was planted 1.5 km inside the Line of Control in the Naushera sector of Rajouri district.
The army has confirmed that it was an IED blast and not a BAT action.
The IED blast came two days after 49 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish attacker rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district in south Kashmir.
Militants can’t hide, will be punished: PM
Yavatmal (Maha), Feb 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said that militant groups who carried out the Pulwama attack that left 49 CRPF troopers dead, could not hide and “will be punished” as the government forces have been given a “free hand” to tackle the inevitable.
Paying tributes to two Central Reserve Police Force troopers from Maharashtra and others killed in the deadly attack on Thursday, Modi said the country had “faith and pride in our soldiers and security forces and their sacrifices would not go in vain.”
“Wherever the militant groups and perpetrators may hide, our forces will flush them out and punish them,” Modi said amidst cheers from the gathering of farmers and women here.
“When and how to accomplish this had been left to the security forces,” he said, appealing to the people of the country to be “patient” and repose confidence in the armed forces, “as the militant perpetrators shall not be spared at any cost”, he added.
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