Barreto opens the floodgates
East Bengal, Bagan women in semi-finals
Title for Armenians
Steve, Ponting hit tons; Mark back in form
Srinath fit, Agarkar out
Demand for tickets rising
3 from a club for national team is ridiculous
Batsmen the key: Devang
Calcutta Races/ Caution is the watchword
Mumbai Races/ Communicator fancied

Calcutta, March 6: 
Mohun Bagan 3
Vasco 0

It was again left to the brilliance of Barreto to put a bungling Mohun Bagan on road to victory, in a National League match at the Salt Lake Stadium this afternoon. After several squandered chances and a few scares from Goa’s Vasco, the Brazilian broke through to score on the whistle for half-time.

It opened the gates, with Prakash and then James Singh getting goals for an emphatic scoreline.

The green-and-maroon ranks will get their chance on Saturday to avenge the recent loss to Churchill Brothers, and coach Subrata Bhattacharya will have been pleased with the way his team geared up for that showdown.

He will, however, be worried over Mohun Bagan’s lingering lack of ability to put the ball into the opponents’ goal.

R.C. Prakash, whose three goals had carried Mohun Bagan past Air India in their last outing, could have got his second hattrick in the League within 12 minutes of the game had he not let three ridiculously easy chances go abegging.

The first of them came as early as in the second minute, after Basudeb Mondal had slipped past Vasco left-back Bhola Dey and sent a cross to the far post. With goalkeeper Rogerio Ramos caught in no-man’s land, Prakash had all the time in the world to head home. He missed the target.

A couple of minutes later, Prakash followed a through from Jayanta Sen, shrugged off the last defender on the left but, with only the goalkeeper to beat, managed only to find the side-netting.

Then, in the 12th minute, Barreto beat right-back Denzil Coutinho with some fine acceleration and sent in a perfectly weighted cross to the far post. Prakash’s header came to grief on the crosspiece.

Having rattled the Vasco defence with these successive forays, Mohun Bagan were to face their biggest scare of the match. It was their own doing.

A long ball for Daniel Colaco to chase saw Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar dash out to defuse the threat. He cleared just in time, some 15 yards out of his box, but to his horror saw a running Barreto ‘save’ the throw-in and play the ball right into the path of Colaco.

The ’keeper was too far out to get back, and even as Suresh made a desperate dash for the goalline, Colaco’s chip was on its way. The ball landed on the crosspiece.

With the scoresheet still blank, a goal for Vasco at that juncture would have left the champions with a whole new ball game.

Vasco came close again, in the 41st minute, but the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper rose to the occasion to keep at bay a Seby Dias header.

Just when the frustration was growing on the terraces, Barreto struck. Receiving a ball on top of the box, he veered left and then squeezed the ball between the Vasco goalkeeper and Seby Dias for the first goal.

After he had wasted yet another opportunity, failing to make proper contact to a 62nd-minute cross from James Singh, Prakash got a goal. And a good one at that.

When Amitava Chanda’s cross from the left came floating over the last defender, Prakash did well to chest it down. He had time on hand to push it past a desperate charging Ramos.

It was 3-0 a couple of minutes later, when substitute Lolendra Singh made it to the goalline on the left and his cross saw James push the ball home through a maze of legs at the far post.

Rajat was to make a fine save off a Koshimov free-kick, but only after Prakash had missed the Vasco target by a whisker.

And, as if to put his final stamp of class on the match, Barreto curled a ball around his marker in the dying moments. But only to see it crash into the left post.


MOHUN BAGAN: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar; Hussain Mustafi, Amauri da Silva, M. Suresh, Amitava Chanda; Basudeb Mondal, R. P. Singh (James Singh, 32nd), Debjit Ghosh, Jayanta Sen (Lolendra Singh, 61st); Jose Ramirez Barreto, R.C. Prakash (Flavio Lopez, 76th).

VASCO SPORTS CLUB: Rogerio Ramos; Denzil Coutinho, Seby Dias, Sanjay Parte, Bhola Dey (Santano Colaco, 62nd); Caetanho Pinho (Khogen Singh, 50th), Ronaldo D’Silva (Kishore Palkar, 74th), Daniel Colaco, Avazbek Koshimov; Peter Rodrigues, Edson Wanderley.

Referee: N.K. Chetia.


Calcutta, March 6: 
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have reached the semi-finals of the women’s football league.

In today’s quarter finals, East Bengal beat Bally Prativa 4-0, while Mohun Bagan overcame Youth Footballers 2-0.

Sujata Kar scored thrice for East Bengal with Swapna Kumari completing the tally. Anjana Kumari and Rinku Ghosh were the scorers for Mohun Bagan.

East Bengal will meet Income Tax, who beat Itika Memorial 3-0, in the semi-final. Pushpa Das, Priyanka Kumari and Sayanti Nandy scored the goals.

Mohun Bagan’s opponents will be Nabajanma who defeated Jubak Sangha 2-0 with goals from Madhumita Das and Swapna Ghosh.

State beach volleyball

Rajasthan Club and Hooghly district won the men’s and women’s crowns, respectively, in the inaugural state beach volleyball championship which ended in Digha yesterday.

In the men’s final, the Rajasthan duo of Shubhankar Chakraborty and Gobinda Bhattacharya beat Manabendra Chatterjee and Amarjit Kumar of Port Trust 2-0. Arun Kamasi and Debashish Majhi of Bijoyee Sangha came third.

Tusi Sankhari and Aparna Sur of Hooghly beat Namita Chatterjee and Banya Kundu of Bijoyee Sangha 2-0.

The third place went to Jhuma Sinha and Pinky Kundu of Axademy for Sports and Excellence, Barasat.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Armenians Sports Club of Calcutta Sunday won a Tamil Nadu Rugby Football Union (TNRFU) invitational meet in Chennai.

In the final of the 18-team two-day meet Armenians beat Bombay Gymkhana 21-12.

TNRFU finished third in this seven-a-side meet which marked the official return of rugby to this state after 1963, according to a Armenians official.

Three other Calcutta teams — Young Rugby Club and Calcutta Police A and B — took part, but they bowed out early in the knockout tourney.


New Delhi, March 6: 
On a placid Kotla wicket which offered good value for the right shots, Australia seized the initiative on the opening day of their match against the Board President’s XI. The visitors rode centuries by Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting to an imposing 413 for eight.

With back-to-back Test matches coming up in Calcutta and Chennai, spending time in the middle was objective No. 1 for the Aussies. They did just that, with the skipper being particularly pleased with the return to form of Mark Waugh (62 in 79 balls) and Ricky Ponting (102 in 138 balls).

Steve, as always, led from the front with a 109 off 165 balls. His fourth-wicket stand of 171 with the belligerent Ponting took the match away from the President’s men.

For skipper Sourav Ganguly, it was a frustrating day as his bowlers lacked penetration. The tactic of asking Sridharan Sriram to bowl outside the leg stump, with seven fielders on the on-side, could not slow down the visitors who scored at over four-and-a-half runs per over.

To add to Sourav’s woes, he dropped a regulation catch at first slip off Ponting. Narendra Hirwani was the unlucky bowler. Ponting was then on 47 and the score was 274 for four.

The spinners on trial, Hirwani — (who arrived late last night) and Sarandeep Singh — did not look matchwinners. Hirwani was too flat, hesitant to flight the ball. He frequently bowled long-hops which led to a deluge of boundaries. His two for 96 off 18 overs did little to inspire confidence.

Sarandeep (four for 103 off 23 overs) tried to purchase wickets by tossing the ball up, but showed little variation. He was struck for six sixes today — thrice by Steve, (pulls over mid-wicket), once each by Matthew Hayden, Mark and Ponting.

Sarandeep struck twice in his third spell but those were gifts from Steve and Ponting who had crossed the three-digit marks.

Medium-pacers Surinder Singh Baggal and Rakesh Patel were inconsistent. Patel dismissed Michael Slater and Justin Langer with slower deliveries in the first hour. Slater looked good, hitting four crisp boundaries, before failing to check a cover drive and holing out to Jacob Martin.

A big score has eluded Slater so far on the tour, but the skipper is not losing sleep. “I am not worried about Slater as he is a big-match player. He will be looking for runs in the second innings,” Steve said.

Langer was half-cock to a ball which kept low and expressed his displeasure at umpire Subrato Banerjee’s leg-before verdict.

As the ball lost its shine, Patel lost his bite. His first spell read an impressive 8-0-30-2, but ended the day with two for 84 off 14 overs.

Mark Waugh and Ponting dominated the spinners with nimble footwork, executing fluent cover drives and on-drives. In contrast, Steve was the epitome of patience. He occupied the crease for over three hours (191 minutes) — the longest by any batsman.

The priorities of the two skippers were clearly different. Sourav opted for four regular bowlers with batsmen Sriram and Hrishikesh Kanitkar available to bowl part-time spin. Under-19 stars Gautam Gambir, Vinayak Mane, Mumbai off-spinner Ramesh Powar and Madhya Pradesh allrounder Jai Prakash Yadav were left out from the XV.

Steve preferred batting practise and, so, played all seven batsmen. All three in-form bowlers — Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne (who joined the squad late last night as he was filming an advertisement in Mumbai) and Jason Gillespie — have been rested, leaving the job to Damien Fleming, Michael Kasprowicz and Collin Miller.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Jawagal Srinath, who fractured his right index finger in Mumbai, is “fit” and available for selection.

The selectors meet in New Delhi tomorrow to pick XIV for the second Test, which gets underway at the Eden Sunday.

“I’ve been bowling for the past three days, and haven’t been in pain. The swelling, too, has subsided. I’m fit, of course,” Srinath told The Telegraph when contacted on his cell-phone.

Srinath, it is understood, will formally inform the selectors later this evening.

But while Srinath is fit, the Board’s executive secretary Sharad Diwadkar has confirmed that Ajit Agarkar is ruled out.

[Diwadkar told Reuters: “Ajit has been suffering from viral fever since the third day of the first Test. He has recovered but, since he has been advised rest by doctors due to weakness, he is ruled out for the second Test. He should be fit for the third Test.”]

That Agarkar is not available could mean good news for Debashish Mohanty.

The names of Mohanty, Ashish Nehra and veteran Venkatesh Prasad are doing the rounds as a possible replacement.

Meanwhile, Narendra Hirwani and Rahul Sanghvi are being pushed hard by Sarandeep Singh, Nilesh Kulkarni and Sairaj Bahutule.

There will, of course, not be any change where the batsmen are concerned.

The Indians assemble in the city Thursday morning onwards, while the Australians will either come the same evening or Friday morning.


Calcutta, March 6: 
There has been a steady increase in demand for tickets for the second India-Australia Test.

Till this evening, tickets worth Rs 60 lakh were sold and this includes tickets for club members and the public. CAB officials said daily tickets will be sold from the Mohammedan Sporting ground.

According to CAB president Jagmohan Dalmiya, some of those who pledged to donate eyes in the recent camp will be accommodated in F block and their tickets will become transferable after the first day.

He informed there will be nearly 1000 policemen in the galleries and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has been invited to be present at the prize distribution function.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Development in science, technology and culture seem to have no effect on Indian sport. It’s still run by people with neither credential nor vision, leading invariably to disastrous performances. People with political clout or other influences have been occupying top administrative spots for ages and rarely do they feel the pain former sportspersons experience when the performance curve keeps dipping. Also, they seldom care about sentiments of the sport-loving public.

This is why people like Sunil Gavaskar has to dissociate himself from the National Cricket Academy. The problem is more palpable in football and the way we are preparing for the pre-World Cup is the latest example.

Even the best footballing nations devote years to prepare for the quadrennial show — with administrators, coaches, managers, scientists, doctors and players all going through the process. And what are we doing? Well, we have opted for a 15-day camp and that, too, in the middle of the National League with no club releasing more than three players.

It’s hard to come across anything more ridiculous. Even a longer camp may not have guaranteed India a berth in the next stage, but the question here is one of attitude. If you don’t want to give it your best shot, then why compete at all?

The most annoying thing about Indian officials is that they are not just unaware of modern methods, they care little about learning. They are so determined to remain ignorant that even if there are examples at the doorstep, they choose to ignore.

There were lessons to be learnt from some of the teams which came for the Sahara Cup. Bahrain, for example, were here to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers. They suffered three straight defeats in India, yet they are now in reckoning for a final-round berth in the qualifiers.

This is one example of a team learning from its mistakes and improving its performance straightaway. Just goes to show how much we are lagging behind on this front.

It’s both amazing and sad to think that we will be going into the World Cup qualifiers without our best team. After having shed sweat and blood for the country, this state of affairs hurts. Officials, however, will never honour sentiments of people like us and continue to smash hopes of thousands who hope to see the team do something noteworthy.

If the ‘pact’ between the clubs and the federation results in another miserable performance, the coach can’t certainly be blamed.

It’s deeply disappointing that it took us less than a year to undo all the positives of the England tour, where we put in a lot of planning. We considered the players’ height, weight, agility, skill and tactical sense to combat rivals who were physically and technically superior. This time, poor Sukhwinder Singh will have to think afresh and do without some players he would have liked in his team.

There has been a lot of hue and cry on Basudeb Mondal’s exclusion from the national squad. Here again, we have been ruled more by emotion than logic. Basudeb is one of the better ball-players in the country but he has to fit in the coach’s scheme of things first.

I do feel for Basudeb, but his recent performances suggest he is not fit for a 90-minute game. He has been overlooked even by his club coach of late.

One can’t blame Sukhwinder for Basudeb’s exclusion as one never knows whether he would have been ignored had the coach been allowed to pick more than three from a club. It’s disheartening to see that the clubs, which rely on four big-bodied foreigners, are calling the shots when it comes to selecting the national team.

The way we are going, the pre-World Cup promises little glory for India but then, what’s new? As Indians, we are used to tolerate everything, even humiliation. Let us prepare for more.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Bengal captain Devang Gandhi feels batsmen have to perform to potential if they are to put it across Baroda in the Ranji Trophy pre-quarter final. The four-day match begins in Vadodara Saturday.

“It’s an area we have struggled so far this season and we have to pull up our socks to make a match of it,” said Devang after practice at the Bournvita Academy this afternoon. The team leaves station tomorrow.

The players did manage to squeeze in a training session after CAB officials had decided against it since the Eden Gardens is unavailable.

Memories of a nightmarish zonal match against Orissa, where the Bengal batting simply caved in against Debashish Mohanty, still seemed to haunt Devang.

Devang, who has recovered from a knee surgery which kept him out of the Duleep Trophy, felt the first-innings lead will be decisive if the pitch does not help bowlers and that will only make the job more challenging for his batsmen.

Bengal are likely to stick to the same batting line-up which came good against Bihar in the last zonal league match.

Ajoy Das may get the nod if they choose to field just two seamers.

The inclusion of Das, who can come in handy with his gentle off-spinners, will lend solidity to the batting comprising Nikhil Haldipur, Alokendu Lahiri, Devang, Srikant Kalyani, Rohan Gavaskar and Deep Dasgupta.

It will be a big match for Dasgupta who is being considered as a bastman who will also keep wickets. After scoring a hundred on debut against Baroda two seasons back, Dasgupta failed to produce a big innings last season, though he has played a few crucial knocks this year.

Das’ inclusion, however, will depend on the pitch and he may have to sit out if there is need to field three seamers. In the spin department, Utpal Chatterjee and Pradipta Majumdar are certain to play.

Either Shib Shankar Pal or Sabir Ali will partner Laxmi Ratan Shukla with the new ball if Das makes the cut.

The last match between Bengal and Baroda, at CC&FC in February, 1999, ended in a draw with the teams sharing six points.

Baroda’s Jacob Martin had made 242 in that game and Devang said the prolific scorer will once again be the main threat.


Calcutta, March 6: 
Caution is the watchword in tomorrow’s race-card. If Scavenger’s Son enjoys a marginal edge over others, in the opener, favourites in rest of the card may find the going tough. Vijay Singh’s Annalee, though unbeaten in her last six starts, takes on well-handicapped horses like Mystic Hill, Clarice Cliff and Tsavo in the Metropolitan. Equally tight at the weights is the D. Byramji’s Silver Toy in the Bangalore Turf Club Cup.

Read as: Horse number, last four runs, horse name, trainer, jockey, weight & draw:

1st Race at 1.35 pm

Play Boy Handicap 1,400m (Cl V; 5-y-o & overRated 00-28)Indian jockeys only
1 0000 Royal Ruler [R. Alford] P. Alford 60.0 7
2 4000 Double Dancer [Javed] G. Upadhya 59.5 1
3 3004 Scavenger’s Son [Daniel] Manohar S. 59.5 5
4 2004 Floral Path [Bath] G. Singh 59.0 8
5 3221 Armila [P. Locke] N. Engineer 57.5 2
6 0002 Armed Alarm [Bharath] M. Reuben 52.0 4
7 0000 Nearco Prince [Bharath] S. Rabani 50.5 3
8 0404 Go India Go [Jaiswal] Som S. 49.5 6
1. Scavenger’s Son (3) 2. Nearco Prince (7) 3. Royal Ruler (1)
Scavenger’s Son: Ignore his last run after demotion. Has class to beat them all. Nearco Prince: Working well may go close to the winner. Royal Ruler: May place..

2nd Race at 2.15 pm.

Bangalore Turf Club Cup 2,000m (Cl III; Cl IV, eligible; 22-72) Indian jockeys only
1 2300 Double Bull [Daniel] A. Imran K. 60.0 6
2 2000 Solo Act [Mujeeb] N. Engineer 59.0 2
3 1003 Analyzer [Daniel] C. Alford 56.0 4
4 0404 Beau Bruno [Daniel] Manohar S. 55.0 1
5 1321 Cool Quest [D. Byramji] M. Reuben 55.0 9
6 4023 Silver Toy [D. Byramji] R. Gowli 55.0 8
7 4101 Alkido [Bharath] S. Rabani 52.5 3
8 0023 Super Smile [Bharath] Md Islam 49.5 7
9 412 Arco Europa [Vijay] A. P. singh 48.5 5
1. Silver Toy (6) 2. Double Bull (1) 3. Analyzer (3)
Silver Toy: Went down fighting in last start over a mile. May make amends over the present trip. Double Bull: Has run against better class. Analyzer: May upset.

3rd Race at 2.50 pm.

Adelina Handicap 1,200m (Cl V, 3-y-o only Rt. 00-28)
1 - - 32 Anokato [Daniel] A. Imran K. 60.0 1
2 - - - 2 Aherlow [Vijay] C. Alford 58.5 3
3 ---- Alumnus [Daniel] S. Tamang 57.5 10
4 ---- Angels Venture [Daniel] Saran S. 57.5 5
5 - - -0 Arterial [Vijay] A. P. Singh 57.5 12
6 ---- Lightning Speed [P. Locke] N. Engineer 57.5 2
7 - - -0 Aberdan [Daniel] Surender S. 56.5 8
8 - - -0 Sunset Down [Bharath] S. Rabani 56.5 6
9 ---- Peppy Mistress [Javed] M. Reuben 56.0 11
10 - - -0 Breakfast At Tiffany [Bharath] Md Islam 55.0 9
11 - -00 Secret Adversary [Daniel] Som S. 55.0 4
12 - -40 Victoria Rose [Bharath] N. Connorton 54.0 7
13 -000 Lively Project [Daniel] Manohar S. 53.5 13
1. Aherlow (2) 2. Anokato (1) 3. Aberdan (7)
Aherlow: Better at the weightsd against Anokato if Andrada is taken as a common-factor. Anokato: Improving with each run. May surprise. Aberdan: May place.

4th Race at 3.25 pm

Navy Cup 1,400m (Cl IV—Rt. 22-50)
1 0002 Black Mane [Karki] E. Smith 60.0 9
2 0000 Citadel [Bharath] N. Connorton 60.0 3
3 2401 The Stud [Javed] R. Gowli 59.5 6
4 0443 Bold Apparel [Daniel] B.Gurang 59.0 10
5 1242 Diplomatic Gesture [Bath] Manohar S. 56.5 1
6 0000 Gentle Priest [Bharath] S. Rabani 56.0 8
7 2133 Aflicker [Bharath] M. Reuben 55.0 13
8 - - -2 Alembic [Vijay] C. Alford 54.5 14
9 0003 Russian Czar [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 54.0 5
10 1100 Tequila Shot [Bath] G. Upadhya 52.5 4
11 0014 Pneumatic Power [Daniel] A. Imran K. 51.0 2
12 3003 Flinders[Asfand] S. Tamang 49.0 7
13 - 244 Cancun [Asfand] Khalander 48.5 12
14 2044 Software [Bath] Haroon K. 48.5 11
15 0000 Acaress [Asfand] P. Kumar 47.5 15
1. Russian Czar (9) 2. Alembic (8) 3. Black Mane (1)
Russian Czar: Came with a late run but lost in photo over 1,200m. Will relish the extended trip. Alembic: Looking improved since last run. Black Mane: May place.

5th Race at 3.55 pm

The Metropolitan 1,200m (Cl I—Rt. 88 & over)
1 1201 Stately Don [Daniel] A. Imran K. 61.0 4
2 1111 Annalee [Vijay] C. Alford 57.0 6
3 0220 Tsavo [Asfand] R. Gowli 55.0 5
4 1143 Anolini [Vijay] P. Kumar 51.5 1
5 0432 Clarice Fliff [Bharath] S. Rabani 50.0 2
6 3000 Mystic Hill [Goenka] Md Yasin 47.5 3
1. Mystic Hill (6) 2. Annalee (2) 3. Clarice Cliff (5)
Mystic Hill: Enjoys significant handicap advantage over the field. Annalee: Yet to taste defeat in her six career starts. May do the trick again. Clarice Cliff: Upset, if any.

6th race at 4.35 pm.

Daramul Handicap 1,200m (Cl IV; 5-y-o & over—Rt. 22-50) Indian jockeys only
1 0000 Crimson King [Daniel] B. Gurang 60.0 12
2 3434 Constantine [Karki] E. Smith 59.5 9
3 0040 Just Kidding [R. Alford] P. Alford 59.0 6
4 0000 Aragrove [Daniel] A. Imran K. 56.5 7.
5 - - 13 Aileron [Bharath] C. Alford 55.5 4
6 0000 Storm Centre [Rodrigues] G. Upadhya 54.5 1
7 0040 Rheinheart [Bath] Haroon K. 53.5 11
8 -- 20 Pure Passion [R. Alford] Rutherford A. 53.0 8
9 0010 All Jade [P. Locke] Md Yasin 52.0 5
10 0000 Googy Gangster [Rodrigues] Brij S. 51.5 3
11 0000 Glass Slipper [Stephens] K. Gurang 51.0 2
12 0000 Stately Honour [Mujeeb] P. Kumar 51.0 10
1. Pure Passion (8) 2. Aragrove (4) 3. Aileron (5)
Pure Passion: Apprentice Rutherford’s allowance gives his edge over the field. Aragrove: Is beginning to get into winning shape. Aileron: May upset.
Day’s Best: Scavenger’s Son
Double: Silver Toy & Russian Czar

Mumbai, March 6: 
Back to his favourite trip after performing poorly over a mile-and-quarter circuit, the Altaf Hussain-trained Communicator is expected to win the 1,600m Royal Tern Trophy in Mumbai on Wednesday. N. McCullagh partners the four-year-old gelding.


3 pm: Sea Minstrel 1. Gulmohar 2. Rebounding Ray 3.
3.30 pm: Communicator 1. San Carios 2. Equity 3.
4 pm: Charging Bullet 1. Begonia 2. Attia In Sunlight 3.
4.30 pm: Valencia 1. The Gladiator 2. Blues Clues 3.
5 pm: Lightning Arrow 1. Big Bertha 2. Mustakeem 3.
5.30 pm: Royal Partner 1. Shanillo 2. Rustling Leaves 3.
6 pm: Osprey 1. Moira 2. Spring Snow 3.
Day’s Best: Valencia
Double: Sea Minstrel & Communicator

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