After Liverpool’s comprehensive 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday, TCE team catches up with The Chennai Kop – Liverpool FC’s Chennai Supporters Club to get a feel on their perceptions after this very important victory. TCE also picks their brains on the Champions League draw.

Liverpool’s high pressing and quick tempo proved to be the difference between the two sides at the end of the day, a game during which controversial striker Mario Balotelli made his debut for the Red Merseyside club. After missing two glorious chances in the first half, Balotelli, yet, managed to impress through his determination and work-rate, one that City fans would’ve hardly witnessed during his previous spell in the Premier League. Brilliant individual performances from Sterling, Henderson, Sturridge and Lovren ensured that the result went Liverpool’s way.

This comes in as a much needed victory for last season’s title challengers after the weekend saw Arsenal draw 1-1 at Leicester, and rivals Manchester City lose 1-0 to Stoke City at home.

TCE will continue to cover the Premier League, Champions League, and the soon commencing Indian Super League through audio and video podcasts. Watch out for this space!


Senior Journalist, Media Manager and Premier Division coach Ranjan Paranawitana picks Akila Dananjaya as an exciting talent among other things in this freewheeling chat with The CouchExpert.

Video  —  Posted: June 20, 2014 by The CouchExpert in Uncategorized

TheCouchExpert caught up with structural engineer Anbarasu in Galle, Sri Lanka, to learn as to how electronic sightscreens and scoreboards worked

Video  —  Posted: June 20, 2014 by The CouchExpert in Uncategorized

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

I couldn’t miss out on a chance to visit an arena whose prodigal sons include the likes of Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Estadio Jose Alvalade - Sporting CP, Lisbon

Estadio Jose Alvalade – Sporting CP, Lisbon

Sporting Club de Portugal (Sporting CP), known outside of Portugal as Sporting Lisbon, is one of the Tres Grandes, meaning ‘Big Three’, clubs of Portugal – the other two being neighbor SL Benfica and FC Porto. I was in Lisbon on business when I decided to sneak in for a 45 minute tour of Estadio Jose Alvalade with four other Irish guys.

The stadium can host around 50000 spectators

The stadium can host around 50000 spectators

Founded in the year 1906 as a club that broke away from Campo Grande SC, Sporting CP’s new stadium, unveiled in 2003, is one of the three in Portugal which is certified ‘5 star’ by UEFA. This implies that the stadium is eligible to host finals of UEFA events – the semifinal of UEFA 2004, between Netherlands and Portugal, was played here at the Estadio Jose Alvalade. Portugal marched on to the finals, only to be halted by a resolute Greek team which registered a shocking win under the shrewd, but ultra-defensive, tactics of Otto Rehhagal.

View from Presidential Box Seats

View from Presidential Box Seats

Strangely, the first game played at the new stadium was a friendly between Sporting CP and Manchester United, a game in which the home team won 3-1, but lost a young star in Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester United. Signed for a sum of 12 million pounds with add-ons, it is believed that Ronaldo’s magnificent performance against Manchester United tempted Ferguson to lay an attractive offer on the table immediately after the game. John O’ Shea, whose role was to mark Cristiano Ronaldo in that game, in Ferguson’s own words “could get nowhere close to him.”

Cristiano Ronaldo played 25 games for Sporting CP, and wore the Number 28 Jersey

Cristiano Ronaldo played 25 games for Sporting CP, and wore the Number 28 Jersey

The stadium also hosted the UEFA Cup final in 2005, when the home team Sporting CP, as hosts, lost 1-3 to CSKA Moscow. Sporting CP currently stand second in the table behind derby rivals Benfica SL. To their credit, Sporting CP currently have a squad capable to compete with the very best in European football.

The Press Room at Estadio Jose Alvalade can seat up to 125 people

The Press Room at Estadio Jose Alvalade can seat up to 125 people

But given that they aren’t among the Europe’s most elite, the financial muscle of ‘bigger’ clubs have often prized away their talented youngsters. Apart from Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, players such as Simao, Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso, Nani, and even legendary Danish goal-keeper Peter Schmeichel plied their trades here before moving to other elite clubs in Europe.

The Museum houses trophies won across multiple sports - Football, Futsal, Athletics, Handball

The Museum houses trophies won by Sporting CP across multiple sports – Football, Futsal, Athletics, Handball

One of the most sought after youngsters is William Carvalho, an Angolan born Portuguese international with three caps to his name. At 21 years of age, and an imposing frame at 6 foot and 3 inches, he’s a defensive midfielder who has been likened to Ivory Coast international and Manchester City super-star Yaya Toure. Carvalho has a release clause of 35 million Euros, and is being sought out by Premiership side Manchester United.

The stadium houses a museum right next to which is the table where players sign their contracts with the management

The stadium houses a museum right next to which is the table where players sign their contracts with the management

Rumors are afloat at Lisbon that Manchester United may break their bank to land the youngster whose wages will rise by an incredible 30 times! He’s currently at an appalling salary bracket of 5000 Euros per month, a sum that Wayne Rooney earns for a few hours of football. But given their struggles in midfield, it is said that David Moyes is seeking a towering presence in midfield, owing to the below-average performances of Belgian midfielder Marouanne Fellaini this season.

Image  —  Posted: March 11, 2014 by thecognitivenomad in Arenas, Football
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Finals#2: ING (A2) versus Terrific XI (B2)

15th December 2013 (7:30 am  – 10:30am)

Terrific XI won the toss and elected to field

Two teams with similar fortunes in the league games now crossed swords in the 2nd Finals of the tournament. Terrific XI managed to put their best players on the park, and ING were missing its best batsman (also named Batsman of the Tournament) Somu from their playing XI.

A foggy morning meant that the teams had to wait a good half hour for the sun to come out to knife through the fog for the light to be permissible for play to begin. Nishith won the toss and inserted ING in to bat.

It would be a contrasting start for the Terrific XI opening bowlers Nishith and Shakthi. Nishith had trouble controlling his lines against the left-right opening pairing of Raha and Taha and conceded extras through wides. Shakthi on the other hand tucked the batsmen of any room and keeping things tight.

The tussle between bat and ball remained honest as batsmen didn’t have much difficulty milking the bowling for run a ball, but the bowling was tight enough for batsmen finding it difficult to really get after the bowling.

Every time the batting team looked to up the ante, they skied the ball and wickets tumbled. Raha was the first to go in the fifth over trying to get after Nishith. Vinod followed up the spell of Shakthi with good measure keeping the scoring to a minimum in his first spell. His around-the-wicket angle seemed to be difficult for the batsmen to score against.


Victorious ING team with the winners’ trophy. © The CouchExpert

Shivaraj reaped the rewards at the other end as he knocked over the well set Taha in the 9th over to keep the scoring in check at roughly run a ball. Abhish bowled his leg spinners well with the odd full toss to further keep the batsmen in check.

ING further lost their way trying to get after the spinners as Ameya and Raghavendra lost their wickets. It took a settled partnership between Madhu and Paddy to get the innings back on track for ING.

Things would have take an uglier turn for ING had Madhu’s catch been taken at point pretty early in the innings. What was a struggle to go at run a ball for the best part of 17 overs turned around drastically in the 18th over with two back-to-back no balls. Madhu helped himself to a four and a six off those to launch a spectacular assault in the final 3 overs.

Paddy ran hard to put Madhu on strike as often as he could and Madhu pushed the score at a rapid pace eventually pushing it past 150 while making a vital 50. The final few overs ensured that Terrific XI will have to go over 7.5 and over to win the contest.

Terrific XI started off well with Pankaj and Shivaraj feasting on full deliveries by Paddy for boundaries. Raha followed it up with inconsistent lengths as well as Terrific XI got off to a brisk start. However, Paddy struck twice in his next two overs to send the openers back.

Terrific XI with the runners' trophy. © The CouchExpert

Terrific XI with the runners’ trophy. © The CouchExpert

Tarun though played his strokes to stay abreast with the runrate. He started with a lofted boundary over mid on to signal his intentions. His driving on the off-side was good as well to compound the problems for the ING bowlers.

Suresh gave Tarun good company as the pair went after the ING bowlers in an entertaining partnership punishing loose deliveries on offer – high full tosses, half-volleys on leg stump.

Tarun and Suresh put on 43 runs in a little over 5 overs to push the score to 75 just around the 10th over, when a loose drive outside off stump by Tarun was snapped up by the keeper. The tables turned a bit after that even though Suresh pushed the score above hundred at the turn of the 15th over.

A stunning running catch on the boundary by Sheshagiri when the ball looked set to sail over the boundary turned the game on its head as it got rid of the set batsman Suresh. ING tightened the grip on the game with straight bowling and well set fields to cut any boundaries to bring up a 20 run victory in the end.

For his match changing 50, Madhusudhan was declared the Player of the Match.

Brief scores: ING 151/4 in 20 overs (Madhu 51 n.o. (29 b, 4X4, 2X6), Paddy 25 n.o. (33 b, 1X4), Shivaraj 2/26) beat Terrific XI 131/9 in 20 overs (Suresh 29 (31 b, 5X4), Ameya 3/23) by 20 wickets.

Full scorecard with wagonwheel, pitch-map is available  here.

Performer of the Match: Madhu – MVP points 27.06

Post-match presentation: