Belfast Telegraph

Hughes suffers penalty pain as Blasters just miss out on glory

By Robert Jones

Aaron Hughes' hopes of winning the Indian Super League title with Kerala Blasters were crushed in cruel fashion yesterday.

The Northern Ireland defender and his team-mates lost 4-3 on penalties to Atletico de Kolkata who secured their second title in three years.

It was 1-1 at full-time in Kochi with Hughes lining up in the centre of defence.

Henrique Sereno's 44th minute goal for Kolkata cancelled out Mohammed Rafi's 37th minute opener as the sides battled it out in front of a packed crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.

Missed penalties by Elhadji Ndoye and Cedric Hengbart proved crucial.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo hailed "the perfect end" to a stellar 2016 after his hat-trick sealed the Club World Cup title for Real Madrid.

The Portuguese star scored from the penalty spot and twice more in extra-time as the La Liga leaders finally saw off the challenge of Japanese underdogs Kashima Antlers 4-2 in Yokohama.

As well as his achievements with Real, Ronaldo also spearheaded Portugal's victory at Euro 2016 and collected his fourth Ballon d'Or award in Paris.

"It has been a dream year, really great," he said, after collecting the Club World Cup's 'golden ball' award.

"It really is a perfect end to the year.

"I'd like to thank my team-mates yet again, because I cannot win individual trophies without them."

Belfast Telegraph

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