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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Tendulkar sells stake in ISL club Kerala Blasters

Football Briefs: Tendulkar sells stake in ISL club Kerala Blasters

September 16, 2018 18:36 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Sachin Tendulkar, co-owner of the Kerala Blasters

IMAGE: Sachin Tendulkar, co-owner of the Kerala Blasters. Photograph: PTI

Sachin Tendulkar said "a piece of my heart will always beat" for Kerala Blasters, after selling off his stakes in the franchise before the start of the new Indian Super League football season.

 

Tendulkar has always been an integral part of the Blasters set-up and was often seen cheering the team from the stands in home and away games.

"In its fifth year, it is important that the club puts the building blocks for the next five years and beyond. It is also a time for me to reflect on the role that I should play. After reflecting and much discussion with my team, I have decided to exit my association with Kerala Blasters as a co-promoter," a statement from Tendulkar read on Sunday.

"I strongly believe that Kerala Blasters is in very good shape and on its path to attain many more successes with the backing of its fans offering unconditional support. I am very proud of Kerala Blasters and a piece of my heart will always beat for the club."

Tendulkar has been associated with the franchise since its inception in 2014.

"Over the last four years, Kerala Blasters Football Club has been an integral part of my life. I have undergone all the emotions that millions of Kerala Blasters fans have undergone during this period.

"My association with Kerala Blasters was driven with the intent to reignite the passion for the game and give the many fans and the abundant talent in Kerala, a national platform to express themselves.

"It has been a thrilling experience to chase this pursuit and something which I will always cherish," the batting great said in the statement.

Kerala Blasters finished as runners-up in the inaugural edition of ISL in 2014 and 2016, both time going down to ATK in the summit showdown.

Kerala Blasters later issued a statement.

"The existing 80 percent shareholders of KBFC comprising IQuest, Mr Chiranjeevi and Mr Allu Arvind have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sachin Tendulkar's 20 percent stake in the club, the franchise said in the statement.

"Any other news regarding the shareholding is purely speculative in nature. Sachin has been a great support  and we thank him for his immense contribution to KBFC . He will forever be a member of the Yellow Army. As it has been, we will continue to uphold and take forward, the spirit of the sport, spirit of the fans and the spirit of Kerala."

Insigne strikes for Napoli, Inter floored by loaned-out player

Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne scored a late goal as last season's Serie A runners-up squeezed a 1-0 win over Fiorentina on Saturday while Inter Milan's troubles continued as they lost 1-0 to Parma, sunk by a player they sent out on loan last month.

A stunning long-range strike by Federico Dimarco gave promoted Parma their first win since their return to the top flight this season following bankruptcy three years ago.

Napoli, who badly needed a win after being soundly beaten by Sampdoria two weeks ago, have taken nine points out of a possible 12 without playing the flowing football which became their hallmark under former coach Maurizio Sarri.

Carlo Ancelotti, who replaced Sarri at the end of last season, restored captain Marek Hamsik and forward Jose Callejon to the side after surprisingly dropping them against Sampdoria.

But it was still a disjointed performance from Napoli, played in front of a disappointing 20,000 crowd at the San Paolo stadium, the poor attendance being blamed on an increase in ticket prices.

A draw seemed on the cards until Arkadiusz Milik chipped a pass into the area to Insigne who collected the ball and fired past Bartlomiej Dragowski with 11 minutes left.

Inter's defeat at San Siro left them with only four points from their opening four games. They had the better of the game and let numerous chances go begging before being punished by Federico Dimarco.

The 20-year-old won the ball in midfield and then beat Samir Handovic with a 25-metre shot that swerved, dipped and went in off the underside of the bar for his first-ever Serie A goal.

"It's a painful defeat, and we conceded the goal when we looked the side who were going to win, even if we lacked the determination and luck to unlock the match," said Inter coach Luciano Spalletti.

Dimarco was raised at Inter and played twice for them as a 17-year-old. He was loaned to Ascoli and then Empoli, was sold to Swiss club Sion in 2017 and bought back in July, before being loaned out to Parma one month later.

Ivory Coast forward Gervinho nearly added a second for Parma, dribbling past three players before seeing his shot saved by Handanovic.

Dimarco also rescued Parma just before the hour when he cleared Ivan Perisic's shot off the line. Inter claimed he used his arm but the referee turned down their appeals after consulting the VAR.

Inter host Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday as they return to the Champions League after a six-season absence.

Lyonnais need late goal to draw at Caen who finish with nine men

Olympique Lyonnais continued their lacklustre start to the season when they needed a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Caen who finished with nine men in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

Lyonnais, third last season, took the lead with a Nabil Fekir free kick on the stroke of halftime but were pegged back by a Claudio Beauvue penalty eight minutes after the break.

Caen had Alexander Djiku sent off two minutes later for a high kick which connected with Fekir's face but, even with 10 men, they took the lead with a Prince Oniangue header in the 73rd minute.

Ferland Mendy curled in an equaliser in the 89th minute to spare Lyonnais' blushes before the hosts had Baissama Sankoh dismissed for head-butting Rafael.

Lyon have seven points from five games and are already eight behind leaders Paris St Germain, who have won all their matches.

"We are both very proud and very frustrated," said Caen coach Fabien Mercadal. "We know that in football, there are things that you can control and there are things we do not control."

Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe scored a hat-trick, including two penalties which he also won, to give Lille a 3-2 win at Amiens which kept them in second place with 10 points.

Last season's runners-up AS Monaco drew 1-1 at Toulouse after Youri Tielemans put them ahead and Aaron Leya Iseka levelled. Third-placed Toulouse have 10 points, behind Lille on goal difference, while struggling Monaco have five.

Bayern's Tolisso out for months, Rafinha also injured

Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso will miss much of the season after tearing his cruciate ligament in Saturday's 3-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen and expected to be out for months, the German champions said on Sunday.

The Frenchman, a World Cup winner with France in July, tore his cruciate ligament and meniscus in his right knee after he scored an equaliser for Bayern and will undergo surgery later in the day, Bayern said in a statement.

The champions said they will also be without defender Rafinha for several weeks after the Brazilian partially tore a ligament in his left ankle in the same game.

The Bavarians, top of the league with three wins from three matches, are already missing winger Kingsley Coman, who was injured at the start of the season.

They kick off their Champions League campaign next week against Benfica in Lisbon.

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