Mayhem kicks off abandonment
Doubts over Wednesday’s Derby
Assam Police in last 8
Shibaji, Mouma top seeds for state TT
Mukesh wins
Pune Racing/ Al Dente wins close finish

Calcutta, Oct. 7: 
A shameful chapter was added to the annals of the city’s soccer history at the Salt Lake Stadium this evening. Warring footballers and policemen, helped in the way by officials and a large number of people who had no business being inside the fenced area in the first place, turned the turf into a war zone as football took a backseat.

The final of the 107th IFA Shield was abandoned, about 30 minutes into the match.

Marcao, of Brazilian team Palmeiras, hit out at East Bengal’s Jackson Egygopong and a free-for-all ensued. Players from both benches and officials rushed onto the ground, adding to the farce, with chairs, sticks and missiles liberally used. Four East Bengal players — Jackson (cut above right eye from the first punch), Dipankar Roy (cut on right forehead), Jo Paul Ancheri (kicked on the same knee that recently underwent an operation, resulting in a ligament twist) and Anit Ghosh (shin bone abrasion) — were injured in the process.

Ancheri could be out of soccer for about two weeks. The condition of the rest were not as serious, but will be out of action for some time at least.

With the Palmeiras team officials refusing to comment, it was not immediately possible to put a number to their injuries, if any.

Police swing into action

As the players’ fight got hot, West Bengal Police and RAF personnel on duty charged onto the ground in force and beat up the Brazilians who then abandoned their martial attitude and ran helter-skelter towards the dressing room’s safety.

Spectators rained missiles, some of which hit the Brazilian players and officials even as they were chased around the ground by policemen and a number of unauthorised entrants.

East Bengal players waited for a long time on the turf, but the Palmerias players did not come out of their dressing room’s safety. Later, match commissioner M.K. Krishna Murthy declared the final abandoned.

Palmeiras have refused to comment, but indications are that, being beaten up by policemen, they will use the “security lapse” issue to try and wriggle out of any AFC or Fifa indictment that might follow.

Interestingly, the security issue, if accepted, could render the venue “unsafe” and the local organisers, the Indian Football Association (IFA) will be at a disadvantage.

The IFA will deliberate on the issue at its tournament committee meeting tomorrow.

Palmerias were also involved in a fracas and fisticuffs in their semi-final versus Muktijoddja Sansad of Bangladesh at the Howrah Stadium. On that occasion, however, it was Muktijoddha who had started with the blows.

Palmeiras are scheduled to leave station tomorrow evening.

Early signs of this being a troublesome day were seen in the 20th minute of the match when two East Bengal officials suddenly moved up to fourth referee Udayan Haldar and claimed that the ball being used was not the one that had been agreed upon at the team meting on September 23. That day it was decided to use Cosco Delta balls.

The final, being a floodlit match, the company had given a new set of fully white balls (called Gold Cup) for play. That raised the hackles of East Bengal.

The East Bengal intrusion was unacceptable to the Palmerias coach Humberto Ferreira and officials, and they too charged to the fourth referee’s chair.

After some heated deliberation, it was decided to revert o the old ball. But, then, that was not to the liking of the Palmeiras men, who were immediately up in arms. Coach Ferreira called his men out of the field and an eight-minute stoppage ensued before sanity returned.

Thereafter, Palmerias went ahead via a 28th minute goal from Reinaldo. Palmeiras were dominating the game but, quite surprisingly, started getting physical. Referee P. Bhaskar of Tamil Nadu finally lost control of the proceedings when Marcao landed the first punch.

DIG CID V.V. Thambi, in-charge of security this evening, said the police had actually tried “to protect players of both teams, or there would have been bloodshed.”

He denied that the police beat up players, saying: “We were actually protecting them from the spectators who were going wild.”

He also said later: “I believe the Brazilians have finally understood that they were the ones in the wrong.”

However, sounding a rather political note, Union minister of state for commerce, Rajib Pratap Rudi, put the blame squarely on the police and the state administration.

“It was the police who is responsible for this shameful act, hitting out at the Brazilians who are guests in this country,” he said. Thambi refused to comment on this.

The IFA should share a good portion of the blame for this major fiasco. The final date had been contested by East Bengal, but the IFA had not relented. Then the match was reset for 6pm.

All this could be rather disturbing for any visiting team. Thereafter came the ball issue. Yet, that does not justify the sudden change in attitude of a team that has played decent, clean soccer in this meet so far.

EB demand dope test

In the midst, East Bengal assistant general secretary Kalyan Majumder sent in a letter to match commissioner Murthy, wanting to know the “result” of the match. Strangely enough, the letter also demanded that the Palmeiras players be tested for doping.

Meanwhile, seven persons, including a policeman, were injured in the trouble. The sub-divisional police officer Satyajit Banerjee received injury in the skirmish. A press photographer had to be given stitches for a head injury.

Police arrested 12 persons on charges of rioting.


Calcutta, Oct. 7: 
Injuries to several key East Bengal players on and off the field in today’s abandoned IFA Shield final at Salt Lake Stadium have cast fresh doubts over the Derby encounter on Wednesday in the Super Division championship leg of the IFA League.

According to East Bengal coach Manoranjan Bhattacharya, at least four players — Jo Paul Ancheri, Jackson Egygopong, Dipankar Roy and Anit Ghosh — were injured in the Shield final fracas and are virtually out of action for a week. “Of them Ancheri’s injury is serious and his coming back into action within a fortnight is most unlikely,” Manoranjan said.

“With so many players on the injury list, it will be difficult to field a team on Wednesday,” the coach said.

Meanwhile, Ancheri, however, didn’t set any time frame for his likely return to the game after today’s injury. “It could take days — only a medical examination will reveal the exact date,” he added.

Maharashtra to host

Maharashtra will host the 54th edition of the Santosh Trophy next month and Nagpur or Mumbai is the likely venue. AIFF secretary Albert Colaco said here today that the meet may be brought forward by a couple of days from its planned November 6-start and concludes before the National Games begin in Punjab.


Guwahati, Oct. 7: 
Assam Police moved into the quarter finals of the Bordoloi Trophy, beating Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) 5-3 via tie-breaker at the Nehru Stadium here today.

ASEB built up a 2-0 lead within 14 minutes on a slushy turf, thanks to an Utpal Basumatary brace. Rubul Rajkhowa and Debojit Saikia brought the policemen at par by half-time.

Though ASEB dominated the second half too, they could not convert chances that came their way. In the tie-breaker, only Sanjiba Rongpi scored for them.

Debojit Saikia, Kullen Brahma and K. Kalita scored for Assam Police in the tie-breaker.

Tomorrow, champions Assam Regimental Centre, Shillong, will meet Guwahati Town Club tomorrow in a pre-quarterfinal tie at the Nehru Stadium.

Meanwhile, Guwahati Sports Association today said Muktijoddha of Bangladesh had pulled out of the tournament despite written confirmation.


Calcutta, Oct. 7: 
Shibaji Dutta and Mouma Das will be the top seeds in men’s and women’s singles at the 32nd Cosco-Stiga state table tennis championships starting at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra tomorrow.

Geeting pride of place in boys’ and girls’ categories are Soumyajit Sarkar and Susmita Roy. In sub-junior boys’ and girls’ events, Soumyajit and Pallabi Kundu get top billing.

There will also be team championships, as well as events for the above-40, above-50 and above-60 categories.

The meet will feature about 450 players in all, including a clutch of nationally ranked paddlers.

The men’s champion will receive Rs 10,400 and the women’s winner Rs 10,300. The runners-up will take home Rs 5,300 and 5,200, respectively.

The championships are being held in the city for the 16th time.

The finals come off Friday.


Calcutta, Oct. 7: 
Mukesh Kumar became the first player to win back-to-back titles on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour 2001-02 as he won the Sher-e-Kashmir Open, which concluded in Srinagar today.

On the final day, the Mhow-based Mukesh shot a four-under 68 to aggregate 13-under 275 for the tournament. That gave him a seven-stroke victory over Gaurav Ghei, who took the second place following a 71 today, according to information received here.


Pune Oct. 7: 
Ridden by Aslam Kader Al Dente had managed to beat the course-favourite Endorsement in the Western India Owners Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes at the Pune races on Sunday. Darius Byramji trained Razeen-Ideas and Trends five-year-old.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Zarvari Plate 1,400m: (1-3-4) Idaho (Prakash) 1; Star Power 2; Valencia 3. Won by: 4-1/4; 8-1/2; (1-27). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 13; 20; Quinella: 23; Tanala: 48. Fav: Idaho (1).

2. Firefly Plate, Div-II 1,200m: (8-1-3) Kilmore Quay (Bhati) 1; Flying High 2; Triple Charm 3. Won by: 3-3/4; 5; (1-12.9). Tote: Win Rs 49; Place: 15; 10; 17; Quinella: 29; Tanala: 269. Fav: Flying High (1).

3. Menorah Trophy 1,000m: (5-2-8) Wordsworth (Gallagher) 1; Emblaze 2; Jayashree 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-2.1). Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 14; 22; Quinella: 27; Tanala: 106. Fav: Wordsworth (5).

4. Rosamund Plate 1,200m; (6-7-3) Star of Heaven (Mann) 1; Courtesan 2; Timbavati 3. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; (1-13.7). Tote: Win Rs 36; Place: 17; 10; 15; Quienlla: 37; Tanala: 148. Fav: Star of Heaven (6).

5. Sir H. M. Mehta Trophy 1,600m: (3-2-1) Pleasure Hunt (Rajinder) 1; Bryce Canyon 2; Eminent Leader 3. Won by: 8; 1-3/4; (1-39). Tote: Win Rs 23; Place: 13; 29; Quienlla: 72; Tanala: 237. Fav: Pleasure Hunt (3).

6. Western India Owners Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes 1,800m: (3-1-5) Al Dente (Kader) 1; Endorsement 2; Anagram 3. Won by: SH; 1-1/4; (1-53.5). Tote: Win Rs 31; Place: 18; 19; Quinella: 36; Tanala: 230. Fav: Endorsement (1).

7. Firefly Plate, Div-I 1,200m: (2-1-3) Say It Loud (Kader) 1; Furiously 2; Star Cutter 3. Not run: Divine Thoughts (4). Won by: 1; 3/4; (1-14.3).Tote: Win Rs 20; Place: 12; 19; 13; Quinella: 104; Tanala: 278. Fav: Say It Loud (2).

8. Gentle Spy Plate 1,600m: (10-9-5) Jodhpur Lad (Rajendra) 1; Judgement Call 2; Northern Frontier 3. Won by: Nk; 3/4; (1-44.6). Tote: Win Rs 39; Place: 16; 29; 36; Quinella: 180; Tanala: 2,907. Fav: Jodhpur Lad (10).

Jackpot: Rs 1,603; (C) Rs 121.

Treble: (i) Rs 86; (ii) Rs 125; (iii) Rs 436.


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