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Beating China tough but not impossible: Anas



Anas Edathodika

Shuzhou (China) Oct 11 : Indian football team defender Anas Edathodika feels upsetting China in front of their home crowd is “a tremendously tough job but not an impossible one.”

“It’ll be a tremendously tough job for us against China, that too at an away match. But winning isn’t impossible. We had a 13-match unbeaten streak including 9 wins recently and that is a perfect testament to the team’s hard work,” Anas told

“Coach (Stephen Constantine) has backed the younger guys and they have also repaid it equally. There’s a feel-good factor in Indian Football at this moment and it provides us with a positive vibe,” he commented.

India will take on China in an international friendly on Saturday as part of their preparations for next year’s Asian Cup.

Having won 12 out of the 17 encounters between the two countries so far the Chinese have always enjoyed an upper hand over their Indian counterparts but Anas shared that “both teams have to start afresh on 13th.”

“Indian Football has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 3-4 years. Younger players have put in terrific effort along with the seniors which has eventually helped the team gain more success up front. We can’t deny the history but both teams have to start afresh on 13th. Both teams will start from ground zero,” the 31-year-old defender stressed.

“Chhetri bhai, Gurpreet, Jeje, Sandesh, etc, have been there for a significant time and they never shy away from sharing a bit or two with the youngsters.”

Being a defender, Anas is aware of the uphill task of keeping the rivals at bay.

“Every single game is a tough test for the defenders. But, we have to work cohesively as a unit. Everyone including the attackers, midfielders, defenders have to play their due part to get the job done. It’s a no-brainer that the match will be a gruelling one for us,” he said.

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2nd ODI: Dominant India look to extend winning streak against hapless Windies



India vs west indies 2nd odi

Visakhapatnam, Oct 23: Their batting in red-hot form, hosts India will look to extend their dominance and take a 2-0 lead against the West Indies when the two sides lock horns in the second One-day International (ODI) here on Wednesday.

In the five-match series, Virat Kohli and Co. have won the first ODI in Guwahati with ridiculous ease despite the Windies managing to post a mammoth total of 322/8 thanks to Shimron Hetmyer’s swashbuckling century.

Rohit Sharma (151 not out) and Virat Kohli (140) helped the hosts gun down the target with 47 balls to spare, smashing a few records in the process.

If captain Kohli adds another 81 runs to his already peerless tally, he will become the fastest batsman to 10,000 runs in this format, surpassing batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar took 259 innings to reach the landmark while Kohli has so far batted 204 times.

On a flat deck, Indian bowlers did not fare well but the top order took the game away from their rivals in style.

Under fire Mahendra Singh Dhoni will look to get some runs in the second ODI but against this toothless Windies attack, it is unlikely whether the veteran stumper, who is not in the best of form, will get an opportunity to bat.

India could draft in chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who did not play in the opening game, to replace Khaleel Ahmed, who looked out of sorts against Hetmyer.

For the visitors, the seasoned Marlon Samuels is part of the squad but he perished quickly in the first match.

He would look to make up for his failure, just like India’s Shikhar Dhawan.

Pace spearhead Kemar Roach is back after missing the Test series due to bereavement in the family, but he could not inspire the team first up.

Roach will get another opportunity on Wednesday, and so will the likes of Devendra Bishoo, and skipper Jason Holder himself.


India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul.

West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas.


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Real Madrid’s Isco backs coach, squad after rocky start to season



Isco Alarcon

Madrid, Oct 22 : Real Madrid midfielder Isco Alarcon on Monday said he has confidence in his coach Julen Lopetegui and the rest of his squad despite the rocky start to the football season.

The Spain international spoke alongside Lopetegui at a press conference ahead of Tuesday’s home game against Czech club Viktoria Plzen in the UEFA Champions League group stage, reports Efe.

“It would seem crazy to throw out Lopetegui,” Isco asserted in a strong defence of his former coach at the Spanish national team.

After winning only five of 12 games since Lopetegui took the helm this season, media speculation has said the Spanish coach’s exit may be imminent, particularly in light of the current five-game winless skid.

“We have to let (him) work, we’ve only had two months. If they throw out the coach, they have to throw us all out because we are the ones on the field, we have to score and defend,” he added.

“We give everything and when we don’t get the result we want, we go away feeling bad. It’s everyone’s responsibility, not just the coach,” Isco asserted.

“It’s not easy to take this many bad results. I’ve been here for six seasons and I’ve also experienced bad times, and we’ve managed to turn things around,” Isco said.

“We have to find the balance to try to correct defensive errors that are costing us games. It’s those details that make the result,” Isco explained.

Asked about the absence of former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, Isco said “We cannot cry over someone who did not want to be here.”

After two matches, Real Madrid is currently third in Champions League Group G with three points, right behind Roma.

The two teams are tied when it comes to points, but the Italian team’s higher number of goals scored gives it an edge in the standings.

CSKA Moscow leads the group with four points, while Viktoria Plzen is at the bottom with one point.

In La Liga, Real Madrid is seventh in the table with 14 points, four points behind league leader Barcelona.

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Punia enters World wrestling semis

In a thrilling quarterfinal, the Indian held the upper hand until the last minute, leading 4-1.



Bajrang Punia

Budapest, Oct 21 : Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang Punia beat Tulga Tumur Ochir of Mongolia 5-3 to enter the semifinals of the men’s 65 kg Freestyle category at the World Wrestling Championships here on Sunday.

In a thrilling quarterfinal, the Indian held the upper hand until the last minute, leading 4-1.

But Punia conceded to his Mongolian opponent three crucial points, including one for the neutral position and two for the takedown within 40-odd seconds, which almost stopped the Indian’s progress.

But luckily, Punia held his nerves and even thwarted a challenge by the Mongolian in the last second, thus earning an additional point for the CWG gold medallist.

The Indian will take on Alejandro Enrique Valdes Tobier of Cuba in the semifinals.

Earlier, Punia defeated Roman Asharin 9-4 in the first round and beat Korean Lee Seungchul 4-0 in a bout which saw both grapplers threading cautiously.

After having earned three points in the first period, Punia added just one more in the second even as the Korean was concentrating more on his defence.

In other freestyle bouts of the day, Sandeep Tomar scored an excellent first-round win over his Guatemala opponent Jose Mox Arias with a score of 10-0, six of his points coming in the second period.

He, however, lost the second round to Azerbaijan’s Giorgi Edisherashvili 2-2 — his opponent was declared as the winner because of a warning which the Indian received in the first period.

Sachin Rathi lost his first round 92 kg category bout 1-13 to Mongolian wrestler Unurbat Purevjav, the latter outclassing the Indian in the second period.

On the other hand, Deepak, who received a first-round bye, lost 0-4 to Liubomyr Sagaliuk of Ukraine in the second round.

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