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#31
Dev, this may not be the news you like to read.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/footbal...-Zico.html
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#32
Thanks for the link Xu. I was actually just about to comment on the match before I saw your post. It's obviously not positive news, but I'm not fussed about it, I'd rather see it being dealt with seriously than being brushed under the carpet. The events that occurred aren't particularly out of the ordinary, there is often bad discipline in European football, while I don't even want to go into regions like South America. It's part of the sport, which is competitive and can be physical, but more important is how those in charge deal with it.

I think a lot of the key points regarding the match are brought up in the article in terms of the controversy. I'll just say they need to investigate this thoroughly with Habas getting serious repercussions (i.e. ban from pitch side) if found guilty, as well as Fikru and Gregory Arnolin being given bans (I'd say 3 matches each) for their part on the pitch.

Ultimately, it was a very ill tempered match and I think refs need to be given orders to clamp down on poor discipline, as a lot of matches have had scuffles, although this match was on the verge of an all out brawl. Fikru and Gregory were the worst offenders, which lead to other players following suit. The ref didn't do well keeping control either.

On the match itself, the play was very disjointed with lots of breaks in play. That said, all the goals were excellent, especially the winner. Key players were Pires, Borja, Sahni, Andre Santos (who we discussed recently being beaten up by Flamengo fans), Bengelloun and the match winner Cavin Lobo.

Interesting was that the broadcasters (which is all driven by the organisers of the ISL) directly questioned everything going on live. This meant directly asking Gregory at the end of the match for his take on the issues with Fikru and the alleged punch to Pires. For anyone interested Gregory just dismissed everything either saying it's football or he didn't see it. However, it was just a bit weird, as I'm used to seeing a third party broadcaster doing this sort of thing, but not one which is so tightly linked to the organisers of the competition.

highlights:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GePzc1tlpx8
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#33
Northeast beat Mumbai 2-0 yesterday, with Mtonga, a Zambian international, showing great strength to score the key goal. It wasn't a bad game, though confirmed to me that Mumbai's last win against Pune was more about how bad Pune were than how good Mumbai were. That said, Mumbai were unfortunate to lose a man to a red after 2 yellow cards, what appeared to be a hamstring injury to Ljunberg and going down to 9 men after injury and having used all their subs.

Mtonga was the star player, playing a very solid game in midfield as well as scoring. No one else really stood out to me, some who have done well before did ok, but no one looked more than that.

highlights:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=p_40tolflNc
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#34
Delhi beat Chennaiyin 4-1 yesterday in a surprise victory. Chennai have generally been very good in the competition so far, while Delhi have had consecutive draws. That said, they were totally dominant in this match and look to be getting to grips with the system. That said, Chennai didn't help themselves by getting caught out and being poorly organised at the back. Delhi on the other hand pressed well and managed the game. The goal conceded was also only thanks to an exceptional Elano freekick rather than any sort of real weakness at the back.

The Delhi goals were very good (I'd recommend looking at the Dos Santos goal at the end) and it was interesting to see how play was centered around Del Piero, who was economical in his movement and play knowing he's not that young.

Standout players for me were Del Piero, Elano and Dos Santos, as well as Anwar Ali at the back for Delhi.

Highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I31vPjjX3qw
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#35
Haven't posted here in a couple of days, but there were actually a couple of games on Sunday. First was Kerala facing Kolkata (the team involved in the ill disciplined match Xu posted a link about the other day). The match ended 1-1, which is a surprise as top faced bottom, but ultimately Kerala's hunger and drive got a result. I'd recommend looking up the Kerala goal too, it had a great assist.

Regarding the match, the star players were Sahni of Kolkata and Jinghan, a young LB/CB for Kerala who impressed me. Borja Fernandez and Cavin Lobo impressed again too.

Highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGnylbu7Yxs

The second match saw Pune beat Goa 2-0. Goa, for those interested happen to be the other team involved in the ill-disciplined match against Kolkata. Goa, for their part, can generally claim to have been rather unlucky in the tournament so far having had a couple of unlucky losses, though Pune deserved to win the match. This wasn't the best match though, technically nothing too impressive, though it did see Trezeguet scoring.

Highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDIkXlDjohQ

For those interested, punishments have been handed out following the controversy of the Kolkata - Goa match. Fikru, the striker for Kolkata has been suspended for two matches for his "headbutt" on Gregory Arnolin (who I'm surprised came away unscathed). Pires has been suspended for 2 games for his part in the halftime scuffle, while the Kolkata coach who punched him has been handed a 4 game ban. That's actually pretty heavy punishment when you think about it, as we're talking about a short competition.
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#36
Kerala beat Pune 2-1 in a match which was unpredictable yesterday. Pune took the lead with a good Trezeguet goal, but Kerala came back, first equalising before scoring the winner in the second half. The irony is if Pune remained concentrated rather than letting individual events affect their game, they probably would have won as both goals were avoidable. Overall, I can't really think of players who really stood out, although Trezeguet showed he's still a fantastic finisher of the ball.

Highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDb8pYBR0EE
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#37
Yesterday saw Pune beat Northeast 1-0 in what can be argued as one of the most balanced, but entertaining games in the competition so far. Pune needed the win as they've been struggling so far, while Northeast are in a good position to finish in the top 4 (which will see them reach the knockout rounds of the competition).

Pune deserved the win, as they were much more adventerous going forward and looked hungrier. They also forced a large number of good to excellent saves from the Northeast keeper, before eventually breaking through as the sub who replaced Trezeguet, Dudu, took an outstanding shot from long range only to hit the bar, although the ball did drop nicely for Goosens to head in.

Players who stood out included the Northeast keeper, Dudu and Goosens who both came on as sub, but changed the match, Cirillo, Katsouranis, Lenny Rodrigues and Israil Gurung. Interesting is that the older players who I was pretty critical of have shown signs of much improvement recently.

That said, the real star of last night's match was Franco Colomba who manages Pune. If I had one criticism of him in the first few matches of the competition, it was that he looked like a coach who didn't seem to really care about being there. However, last night was the total opposite from the 59 year old. He was active all night, looked to be ready for a fight when he threw his suit jacket on the floor when his side didn't get a freekick, to a Mourinho esque run down the touchline when they scored and finally being the culprit to almost starting a brawl as he refused to give the opponent the ball for a throw in. The last act got him sent off, though even then he rubbed salt in the wounds as he insisted on picking up a pen he'd dropped during the chaos. It was bizarre, but hugely entertaining stuff.

Highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se4r1J9kfcY
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#38
Right, a few matches have been played recently that were pretty interesting. Chennai faced Kolkata as essentially the top 2 played, with the result being 1-1 (both teams down to 10 men and a penalty each). It was a good match of decent quality where some individuals showed their quality, notably Elano. Unfortunately I can't find highlights.

Delhi faced Northeast, but the match was a pretty drab 0-0 draw, one which I gave up watching after a while as there was very little to take from the game.

Finally, yesterday saw Kerala face Goa, in a match that saw Kerala win 1-0. It wasn't a bad game, in that the quality wasn't and tactically weak, but it was super stretched and open, meaning it was pretty entertaining. Miragles Goncalves scored the winner, but for me the star players were the Nigerian Orji and Jinghan who played at RB. It was also Kerala's first home match and had a great atmosphere with 50,000 in the stadium.

Highlights:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8R_rzP9OAU

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#39
I haven't commented in this thread in quite a while, mostly been busy. I won't go into all the matches I've seen (there have been some big ones with the top teams all facing each other), but instead I will try to give a few thoughts on what I have seen.

Firstly, Kolkata were early on the standout team in the competition, but now it seems others have been catching up. They are still top, but only just. They've had some difficult games with a few draws and the odd loss, so they do need to be careful.

Chennai have steadily improved in the tournament and while they've not always had it their own way, Materazzi has to be commended on his job there. He's also playing himself a lot now and it's interesting to see him playing mostly as a DM, showing good positional awareness. The other thing is he hasn't been anywhere near as aggressive/dirty as he was during his Inter days. They also have a guy Mendoza (a Columbian forward) who's interesting, mostly because of his insane pace. However, the star is undoubtedly Elano, who's is showing why he's been such a class act over the years and has generally been outstanding. He's clearly loves his role too, which is closer to goal and gives him more freedom.

The team that imo has improved the most is Pune. Early on in the competition I thought they were the worst side, citing that their older players (Trezeguet, Katsouranis and Cirillo) don't seem to be able to keep up with the pace of the games at the competition. I was also very harsh on Franco Colomba, their coach, for his seeming lack of interest as he stood completely still on the touchline. Since then, Colomba's shown more passion and hunger than any other coach in the competition. Cirillo, alongside a fellow Italian CB, has grown into a real leader at the back, while Katsouranis has less physical demands in his role and is effectively a regista for the side, playing some outstanding games and scoring goals (one great one from outside the box). The biggest change has been Trezeguet's been dropped for a player called Dudu. Dudu in all honesty seems a much better fit for the side, showing a great work ethic and acts as a lone forward very well. Others have also stepped up, to help develop a side that's now up the as one of the favourites for the competition.

Other than that, most teams have generally continued as they were. Zico's Goa have been pretty disappointing, with Pires struggling to do much with those around him. Mumbai and Kerala, both coached by English coaches (Peter Reid and David James respectively), have generally looked very open and stretched.

What is interesting is how tight the competition appears to be. No team has won more than 3 games, despite every side having played at least 7. Also, the top 4 are only sperated by a single point. It's pretty good as every team knows they can still make real headway in the competition or they can drop quickly from an advantageous position.
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#40
Haven't posted in this thread in a while, mostly because while the matches have continued, I just don't have time to post much.

However, big news has come out that Chennai forward Stiven Mendoza, who's been excellent this tournament, has had to pull out due to a hamstring injury. In his place, Chennai have been allowed to get another player and Materazzi has gotten Alessandro Nesta! Certainly excited to see a legend of Milan play in the competition.
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