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Next Gen Cup: Battle for top spots toughens on final day of group stage matches

Navi Mumbai, May 22 (IANS) With all eight teams in the fray competing against each other on an exciting day of competitive football, the race for the top spots across four matches on day three of the Premier League Next Generation Cup at the Reliance Corporate Park (RCP) on Tuesday.

The teams will face their counterparts from the other group after Tuesday’s set of matches and hence the upcoming games are important for them to seal their final position in their respective groups.

Stellenbosch FC vs West Ham United

Stellenbosch have made an impeccable start to their season. They have maintained a clean sheet and secured victories in each of their two games so far.

The defending champions face West Ham United on Tuesday, who will arguably pose a sterner challenge in front of the South African side. The Hammers defeated Everton FC 4-0 on Saturday and seem to have regained their form after a 1-1 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan in their season opener last week.

“They have got some good, athletic, technical players. They have a nice organisation. They press well and play good football. It’s going to be a nice test for the boys, you know,” Stellenbosch FC coach Evangelos Vellios said before the match.

“In our first game, the team (Bengaluru FC) was trying to keep possession. In our second game, the team (ATK Mohun Bagan) was trying to play on the counterattack. I think there will be goals and both teams will be trying to impose their styles and the team that takes their chances will come out on top,” Vellios added.

West Ham United coach Lauris Coggin too was expecting a tough and exciting game against Stellenbosch. “We are expecting a very tough game against a very strong team, Stellenbosch. It is a challenge that we are looking forward to. We know how important it is where we finish in the group so we have a challenge (tomorrow),” he said.

ATK Mohun Bagan vs Bengaluru FC

ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC come into this match on the back of defeats to Stellenbosch FC and West Ham United respectively.

However, the two Indian clubs have shown tremendous temperament and talent in their matches first in the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) and then in the ongoing Premier League Next Generation Cup as well.

Bengaluru have edged past the Mariners by a slender margin in penalty shootout during their faceoff in the semi-final of the RFDL and ATK Mohun Bagan will hence be eager to secure three points in this game.

“They (ATK Mohun Bagan) have also analysed us and we have also analysed them. We have to play our own philosophy. We have to develop ourselves as a team. We are looking forward to this game because we have played them and they are good opponents also at the same time,” Bengaluru FC coach Kaizad Ambapardiwalla assessed his opponents for Tuesday’s match.

“This is a tournament where we have to play two-time RFDL champions (Bengaluru FC). They have won RFDL twice, which is not just by chance. They have done something well and the vocabulary of revenge is not in my dictionary. It’s a new competition, new match, and new surface, different minutes, so, everything is different,” ATK Mohun Bagan coach Josep Maria Roma Gibert said.

“If we draw, we will play against the third-placed side of the other group. They (Bengaluru) didn’t beat us. They scored only one more penalty than us (in the RFDL semi-finals). So, let’s see, it will be a beautiful game between top-level Indian teams again, so I am quite happy and excited for the game,” the tactician added.

Sudeva Delhi vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Sudeva Delhi FC have been slightly unlucky in the tournament. Their opponents have outscored them by a solitary goal in both matches so far and they now face Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are on an unbeaten streak right now.

The Wolves have been very efficient from set-pieces and notched a 2-0 win against the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) in their last match. They had put four past Everton in the preceding game and hence appear to be in promising goal-scoring touch presently. Sudeva, on the other hand, have been resilient defensively and will definitely give the Wolves a run for their money at the RCP.

“We have watched their (Wolves’) videos. We will try to solve the problems. Today, we will train for an hour of defensive and attacking approach for tomorrow’s game. So, yeah, they are quite strong but it is good to have a match with them,” said Sudeva coach Chencho.

Asked about what aspects of the game that his team needs to improve upon after the first two matches, he said, “It’s our finishing. We create chances and in both matches, we got our chances. It’s not like we didn’t work on that. I think we are missing some experience and it will only improve game after game so we will take it on positively and work on the same.”

“We take every opposition of ours with respect, all different cultures, and all different people. We knew Everton before we played them. We didn’t know Bengaluru FC (style of play). Now, we have got Sudeva Delhi and they look to me like a strong side,” Wolves’ coach James Collins said as he addressed the challenge that Sudeva can pose to them.

Collins further said, “They look to me as a side that can cause a lot of problems. We have got to show them respect, but we have to play our game. We have to focus on ourselves and if we do that then I think we can win the game.”

Reliance Foundation Young Champs vs Everton

Everton, who tasted their first win of the season against Sudeva the other day, will now lock horns with the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC). The Toffees have one of the youngest squads in the tournament comprising a majority of U-17 players.

They displayed tremendous determination to chase the winner until the very last minute and accordingly won the game against Sudeva on Saturday. RFYC, on the other hand, put in a very improved performance in the second half of their game against the Wolves. The team opened their account with a 1-0 victory over Sudeva in their first match of the campaign and will be looking to add another win to the tally against the Premier League side on Tuesday.

“We have brought a very young team here with 50 per cent of the squad being U17s. Of the remaining 50 per cent, there are U18s and then we have got one U19 player as part of the group. We obviously want to be competitive. We want to try and win games of football, which is what the lads are prepared to do when they get into the senior level,” Everton coach Kieran Driscoll said.

Driscoll added, “But, we are very much individual and development focused. So, every player has their own individual plan and we are looking to impose the same style of play across the group. So, it is very much about development but we want to instil the winning mentality within them as well.

RFYC coach Arata Izumi encouraged his boys to be mentally stronger irrespective of the opponent on the field.

“Definitely, the mental preparation. We experienced this against Wolves and now we have another Premier League team. It shouldn’t affect us. From the first minute, we should go to show that we are here to express our football, compete and still overcome the opponent,” he said.



Agency News Desk
Agency News Desk
The Agency News Desk comprises team members including Puja T, S Ghadashi, N N Sethi, curate & publish news-worthy domestic & international content from the designated news agencies like Indo Asian News Service, others. The content team can be contacted on and on @glamsham on social media platforms. Kindly visit for more information
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