Footballers wear masks during training for ISL match
Air pollution in the city is a cause of concern for not only the Sri Lankan cricketers but also for the footballers competing in the Indian Super League as they wore masks while training on Tuesday.
Delhi Dynamos take on Jamshedpur FC in their second home match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium tomorrow and a couple of players were seen wearing masks during the home side's training session.
During the ongoing second cricket Test at Feroz Shah Kotla between India and Sri Lanka, the visiting players complained of breathing problems due to smog and continued to wear anti-pollution masks on the field.
Dynamos coach Miguel Angel Portugal confirmed that his players wore masks but said they will not use them during the match on Wednesday.
"This pollution is a problem but it's not solely for the players and me. It's for the people of Delhi. We have been training with masks, so it is fine. The players will not be donning the masks on match day tomorrow," Portugal said at the pre-match press conference.
“It is a home and away league and it (tomorrow) is our home match. So there is no question of not playing, we have to play here. I will have no objection if a player chooses to wear one," he added.
Jamshedpur FC coach Steve Coppell said the football matches should not have been held in Delhi during this time of the year though he stopped short of saying that it's unsafe for players.
"Around Diwali last year I came to Delhi with the Kerala Blasters team. When we played last year, at that time the measure (level) of particulate matters was over 500. I think it's 300 today," Coppell, who was the head coach of runners-up side Kerala Blasters in the last edition, said.
"For the last three years I have been in Delhi at this time and there has been the exactly same commentary about doing something but nothing has happened. Last year I said that matches should not be scheduled in Delhi around this particular time of the year. Common sense should have prevailed."
Understandably, Coppell, a former Manchester United player and Manchester City coach, said he would have loved to play in better conditions.
"It's not for sportsmen to say, it is a decision the health officials will have to make. If you ask me if I want to play in these conditions I would say I don't think so."
Asked specifically if it's safe for the players, he said, "I don't know. I would have loved to play somewhere else in better conditions.
"No, it is very difficult to play football with masks. I appreciate cricket players can play by wearing masks but it is very difficult for footballers. It shows the contrast between the two games. Football is a very intense game," he said.
Delhi's viability as an international sports venue has been called into question after The Sri Lankan grievance came close on the heels of the furore that preceded last month's Delhi Half Marathon which took place despite high pollution levels and an appeal by the Indian Medical Association to cancel the event.
The second day's play in the ongoing cricket match was halted for 26 minutes after Sri Lankans complained of breathing problems forcing Indian captain Virat Kohli to declare the innings at 536/7.
The Indian team, however, has taken the conditions in its stride with pacer Mohammed Shami casually stating that they are "used to suffering" and did not want to make a big deal out of it.
Gurpreet suspended for 2 matches
India's number one and Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been handed a two-match suspension and a fine of Rs 3 lakh by the Indian Super League for his "violent conduct" during his side's away match against FC Goa last week.
Gurpreet had a clash with Manuel Lanzarote Bruno, whom he shoved on the head from behind after the FC Goa player pushed him. The referee gave Gurpreet the marching orders while also awarding a penalty to FC Goa in the first half.
Bengaluru FC lost the match 3-4 at the Nehru Stadium at Margao on November 30.
"Bengaluru FC player, Jersey No. 1 Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been handed a two-match suspension and fine of ₹ 3 Lakhs with immediate effect for the Hero Indian Super League 2017-18 season," the ISL said in a statement.
"AIFF Disciplinary Committee today announced the decision on the breach of AIFF Disciplinary Code Article 49 (misconduct against opponents or person other than match officials), based on the Referee's report of violent conduct by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in Hero ISL Match No. 12 played between FC Goa and Bengaluru FC on 30 November 2017 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa," the statement added.
William double strike put Minerva Punjab on top of the table
William Opoku Asiedu struck twice as Minerva Punjab beat Indian Arrows 2-0 to move to the top of I-League table in Goa.
Both the team matched each other for major part of the game and foreigners made the difference for Minerva Punjab who rode on William's double strike -- one goal in each half.
Minerva are now on the top of the table with seven points from three matches.
The Indian Arrows looked dangerous in their counter attacks but they had few shots on target. The defeat meant that they remain on three points from two matches.
Both the team came into this fixture on the back of a victory. The young Arrows had defeated Chennai City FC 3-0 in their I-League opener while the Chandigarh-based Minerva had got the better of debutants NEROCA at home.