Hero Fed Cup kicks off with ISL stars in tow
The Hero Federation Cup kicked off in Goa on the 28th of December 2014 amidst a buzz of anticipation that saw Indian football fans focussing their attention on the stars of the recently concluded Hero Indian Super League (ISL). With everybody keen to know how the ISL stars would fare in the domestic cup competition, the first three games have provided ample fodder for discussion.
Romeo Fernandes, one of FC Goa’s shining stars in the inaugural season of the ISL, provided fans with another glimpse of his match-winning abilities as he powered Dempo SC to a comfortable 1-0 win over East Bengal in a Group A tie at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on December 29. The Goan guided a magnificent header past Subhasish Roy Chowdhury at the stroke of half-time to put his team ahead. It eventually turned out to be the winning goal as East Bengal failed to create any gilt-edged chances going forward.
Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, who represented the Hero ISL champions Atlético de Kolkata, put up a sterling display which saw his side lose by a respectable score-line. The East Bengal custodian was bombarded by a trio of FC Goa stars, but he responded by denying Romeo and Mandar Rao Desai in quick succession. He also raced off his line to deny Tolgay Ozbey to produce the save of the match. Arnab Mondal, Baljit Sahni, Cavin Lobo and Mohammed Rafique could not exert the same influence for East Bengal as they had done for Atlético de Kolkata in the final of the ISL. The quartet tried their best to even things up but the best chance fell to Dudu Omagbemi (of FC Pune City) who could have put his side ahead. Instead, his attempt on the spin did not trouble the scorers.
Elsewhere, Rohit Mirza (Mumbai City FC) and Mohammed Rafi (Atlético de Kolkata) could not prevent Mumbai FC from going down 1-2 against a well drilled Royal Wahingdoh side at Fatorda on the December 28. I-League champions Bengaluru FC triumphed 3-2 over Salgaocar FC in a thrilling encounter at the Tilak Maidan in the opening game of the Fed Cup. Subrata Paul (Mumbai City FC) kept Salgaocar in the game by pulling off a couple of vital saves, but was helpless to deny Bengaluru’s powerful attacking duo of Sunil Chettri and Sean Rooney who put three goals past him.