Bagan, Churchill in high-voltage clash
Title for Avenue Sammilani
Course record by Firoz
Somak Palit just needs a draw
Calcutta Racing/Alternator picks up champs’ Cup
Mumbai Races/Royal Honey may be hard to toss

Calcutta, Jan. 23: 
The National Football League is not even halfway through but it’s already reached a stage where some teams are eyeing the summit with a clearer vision than the others. Two such heavyweights, Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers, are set to cross swords in what should be a high-voltage clash at the Salt Lake Stadium tomorrow.

Both teams have 15 points in their kitty and whoever wins tomorrow will emerge clear leaders after the ninth round of the 22-leg marathon. That should be incentive enough for both teams to put their best foot forward.

“The results show that Churchill are a good side,” Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya observed. “They have a good midfield. But we’ll battle hard and try to put it across them.”

Mohun Bagan do have a worry or two going into tomorrow’s crucial tie. They have to do without Nigerian regulars Abdul Saliu and Abdulateef Seriki, both of whom are booked out following two yellow cards. The presence of Saliu would have helped in disturbing the talented Churchill midfield, while Seriki is always a threat in front of the rival goal. The coach, though, is not voicing much concern.

“We have to play with the resources available… we have the replacements ready,” he said. While Debjit Ghosh will move up from defence to fill in for Saliu, R.C. Prakash will partner Jose Ramirez Barreto upfront. Hussain Mustafi will man the heart of the defence along with Amauri da Silva.

Churchill coach T.K. Chathunni has a wealth of talent to choose from in forming his midfield. The quartet which started against Tollygunge Agragami three days ago — Roque Barreto, Aqueel Ansari, Noel Wilson and Ratan Singh — should again be pressed into service. There will be solid back-up in the form of Tejinder Kumar and Somatai Shaiza.

The defence may again have to do without the dependable Mahesh Gawli, who is nursing an ankle injury. “He’s still not fully fit. I’ll see how he is tomorrow and then decide whether to field him,” said Chathunni.

Though Yusuf Yakubu fired a hattrick against Tollygunge Sunday, Chathunni is not depending on the Ghanaian alone to score. “There is (Abdul Saley) Ganiyu, Noel, Roque, Aqueel… all of them are capable of getting goals,” the coach quipped.

“What we have to guard against is not conceding late goals,” Chathunni added. “In three of our matches, we squandered winning positions by letting in late equalisers. We can’t afford to repeat that mistake tomorrow. It’s a very important match for us.”

Barreto, the Brazilian who can spoil the Goan party, is very much on Chathunni’s mind. “He’s a tricky guy and a very clever footballer. Keeping a marker for him will be wasting a man. It’s better to go for tight zonal marking,” remarked Chathunni.

That’s all any team can do to stop Barreto. Of course, success isn’t guaranteed. Ask East Bengal, ask Punjab Police.

EB meet Salgaocar

In Margao, East Bengal will try to end their dismal run when they meet Salgaocar tomorrow. Following three successive defeats, the defending champions must win this tie to come back into contention.    

Calcutta, Jan. 23: 
Avenue Sammilani won the under-16 inter-coaching centre football tournament beating Jagarani Sangha 2-1 at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium today.

Susnata Das scored two minutes after the kick-off to take Avenue Sammilani ahead. Tanmoy Basunia restored parity in the 25th minute. The title-clinching goal was netted by Sankar Oraon 11 minutes from full time.

Jagarani’s Tapan Maity was adjudged Man of the Tournament.

Rishra school best

Anjuman High School (Rishra), won the Muslim Institute centenary school football meet beating Free India Higher Secondary School (Titagarh) 2-1 today. Imtiaz and Mohammed Akram were the scorers.

Muslim Institute secretary Prof. Sulaiman Khurshid announced after today’s final that the institute has plans to set up a football academy on the lines of TFA.

Final rescheduled

With unseasonal showers leaving the Eden pitch damp, today’s CAB under-15 inter-coaching camp final between Agragami of Siliguri and S.P. Roy Memorial CCC of Siliguri was a non-starter. The match will now come off on February 1.

12 km road race

A 12 km road race for men and women will be organised by Sabeda Bagan Club Sunday morning in Behala. About 150 competitors are expected to compete in the all-Bengal event which is being held for the ninth year.

Sponsored by Bidya Bhaban High School, the race offers a total prize-money of Rs 20,000.


Calcutta, Jan. 23: 
Firoz Ali hit a four-under 68, a course record, to join Gaurav Ghei in the lead at the midway stage of the Hero Honda Tour’s Noida leg today.

According to information received here, the leaders are three strokes ahead of their nearest rivals at four-under 140. Rahil Gangjee and Vijay Kumar were tied at joint-third with one-under 143.

Rohtas Singh matched Firoz’s four-under effort to leap to fifth spot alongside Digvijay Singh and Shiv Prakash at level-par 144. The cut was applied at 11-over 155.


Calcutta, Jan. 23: 
Somak Palit moved closer to his maiden senior title after the penultimate round of the state chess championship at Khudiram Anushilan Kendra today.

In the tenth round, he drew with Anirban Guha Roy to move to nine points and a draw tomorrow will fetch him the title.

The 15-year-old Goodricke Academy trainee is the reigning The Telegraph Schools’ meet champion.

Following Palit with 8.5 points each are Guha Roy, Shanker Roy and Roktim Bandopadhyay. Roy beat Joydeb Saha (7), while Bandopadhay defeated Debabrata Das (7).


Calcutta, Jan. 23: 
Cashing on the jockey Aslam Kader’s poor handling of the 5-4 favourite Altenburg, Cristopher Alford drove home Alternator to an easy victory in the 2,000m Eveready Indian Champion Cup today. In a crunch situation seeking a narrow galloping room between the weakening leader Access All Areas and a flat out Arterial, Kader only managed to lose the precious ground thus putting a quietly fancied Alternator, who was in close proximity, at an advantage.

The afternoon was, nevertheless, ruled by lesser fancied horses with Smart Ruler winning the Indian Champagne Stakes and Comedy of Errors the Revelation Cup. The former displayed good turn of foot in the final stretch after loosing six lengths at the start to overhaul Network who shifted out under pressure when in lead.


1. Rising Bell Handicap 1,100m: (4-10-8-6) Lawyer’s Love (Rutherford) 1; Sergeant Slipper (Abraham) 2; Andrada (Amil) 3; Revolution (Kujur) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; 1-3/4; 2-1/4; (1-6.1). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 15; 14; 22; Quinella: 59; Tanala: 564. Fav: Revolution (6). Winner trained by R. Alford.

2. Nautical Pride Handicap 1,600m: (6-10-11-3) Leading Conquest (Rutherford) 1; Scavenger’s Son (Shanker) 2; Bay Dragon (Abraham) 3; Midnight Escape (C. Alford) 4. Not run: Abandoned (8). Won by: 2-1/4; 1-3/4; 3/4; (1-41.6). Tote: Win Rs 139; Place: 25; 24; 17; Quinella: 354; Tanala: 4,276. Fav: Midnight Escape (3). Winner trained by D. Byramji.

3. Republic Cup 1,200m: (6-1-4-7) Bountiful Gesture (C. Alford) 1; Alys-sum (Rutherford) 2; Soviet Ride (Abr-aham) 3; Secret Blessing’s (Yasin) 4. Won by: 5; 1/2; 1-1/4; (1-12.5). Tote: Win Rs 38; Place: 14; 30; 12; Quinella: 207; Tanala: 1,131. Fav: Soviet Ride (4). Winner trained by Vijay S.

4. Indian Champagne Stakes 1,400m: (5-3-6-7) Smart Ruler (Connorton) 1; Network (Kader) 2; Assertive Dancer (Abraham) 3; Silver Victress (Gowli) 4. Won by: 2-3/4; 1-3/4; 2; (1-28.3). Tote: Win Rs 52; Place: 16; 12; 15; Quinella: 35; Tanala: 363. Fav: Network (3). Winner trained by Daniel D.

5. Revelation Cup 1,400m: (6-5-11-15) Comedy of Errors (Gowli) 1; Ballet Master (Abraham) 2; Aherlow (C. Alford) 3; Aflicker (Rabani) 4. Won by: 3/4; 3-1/4; 1/2; (1-26.7). Tote: Win Rs 77; Place: 28; 16; 17; Quinella: 126; Tanala: 791. Fav: Ballet Master (5). Winner trained by D. Byramji.

6. Eveready Indian Champion Cup 2,000m: (3-8-2-7) Alternator (C. Alford) 1; Arterial (Norton) 2; Altenburg (Kader) 3; Fame Star (Shanker) 4. Won by: 2; 1-1/4; 3/4; (2-7.9). Tote: Win Rs 58; Place: 15; 11; 12; Quinella: 50; Tanala: 227. Fav: Altenburg (2). Winner trained by Bharath S.

7. Kempion Handicap 1,200m: (4-6-12-7) Software (K. Kumar) 1; Finders Keepers (Dalpat S.) 2; Wild Is The Wind (Amil) 3; Castle Moon (Kujur) 4. Not run: The Stud (5). Won by: 6-1/2; 3/4; Nk; (1-15.6). Tote: Win Rs 56; Place: 17; 16; 68; Quinella: 165; Tanala: 6,035. Fav: Albright (2). Winner trained by J. Stephens.

Jackpot: Rs 43,347; (C) Rs 2,501.

Treble: (i) Rs 1,817; (ii) Rs 24,344.

Mumbai, Jan. 23: 
Fully recovered from his minor training setback after his runaway victory on the opening day of the season, the Sir Bruce-Caleche son Royal Honey, from Hanut Singh’s yard, may win the Bahrain Trophy in the hands of jockey N. McCullagh at the Mumbai races on Thursday.


2 pm: Blues Clues 1. Come Prima 2. Right Track 3.
2.30 pm: Angara 1. Big Bertha 2. Anthology 3.
3 pm: Royal Honey 1. Lucky Spell 2. Fire Dancer 3.
3.30 pm: Tactful 1. Venire 2. Ruffles 3.
4 pm: Love Me Forever 1. Zeta Jones 2. Divine Protocol 3.
4.30 pm: Proud Moment 1. On Her Way 2. High Voltage 3.
5 pm: Quick Decision 1. Marion Jones 2. Northern Frontier 3.
5.30 pm: Sunchyme 1. Positive Thinker 2. Menorca 3.

Day’s Best: Tactful

Double: Royal Honey & Proud Moment

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