Discipline won the day for Senegal
In The City
Bangalore Races/ Taipan holds edge

 
 
DISCIPLINE WON THE DAY FOR SENEGAL 
 
 
BY P.K. BANERJEE
 
May 31: 
The first World Cup of the 21st century couldnít have got off to a more stunning start. Defending champions have faltered in the opening match in the past, but Franceís defeat came as a bigger shock since they were among the favourites and Senegal were playing their first game at this level.

The newcomers, supremely fit and powerful, displayed sound tactical maturity and the victory was richly deserved since they succeeded in sticking to a plan. Senegalís discipline was unwavering, and they came away with just one booking after defending for a greater part of 90 minutes.

France were shaky in the start but found too little space in the Senegal half once they overcame the early nerves. They were a little unfortunate to return empty-handed in the end, but the bite that has kept them on top of the rankings for so many years was missing.

Senegalís plan was simple but the execution was exemplary. They knew there was no point in attacking the world champions and decided to play the waiting game with just one player ó El Hadji Diouf ó up front to disturb the French defenders. They did this to perfection and defended with greater confidence as the match wore on.

They were quick to retrieve the ball and their tackles were fast and vigorous. Their covering was accurate and they gave very little away in the air. France, in fact, had to wait for more than 50 minutes to win an aerial challenge in the rival box. Diouf was slippery on the counter and his deceptive speed proved quite a handful for the ageing Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf at the heart of the French defence.

France started in the conventional 4-4-2 format with Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet up front. Yuri Djorkaeff and Sylvain Wiltord were expected to add spice to the attack and side-backs Bixentte Lizarazu and Lilian Thuram were around to provide power down the flanks.

But Senegal upset the French plan by outnumbering them in their own half and cut down all the angles leading to the goal. Thuramís early surges down the right were stopped and Lizarazu barely got the chance to climb up the left.

Henry, who didnít look fully fit, was often tackled by more than one and Trezeguet rarely got the chance to turn and shoot. Djorkaeff was the only player who was playing the correct passes but his replacement Christophe Dugarry was not as effective. With the deep defenders not looking as safe as they normally do, Emanuel Petit had to fall back a lot and worked tirelessly throughout the match.

Despite being frustrated for most part of the match, France looked in control for a period of ten minutes in the second half. They managed three clear looks at the goal in this phase and Henry missed a regulation header which would have made it 1-1. The Arsenal striker was under pressure and it showed in his mis-timed jump while shaping up for the header.

France had shown the steeliness to come back after conceding a goal in big matches but couldnít make the chances count on Friday. The defeat should not demoralise them totally since these are early days, but the inability to convert after reaching the danger zone in a tight match doesnít augur well for champions.

Senegal right-back Ferdinand Coly, goalkeeper Tony Sylva, and left-half Aliou Cisse were outstanding as was striker Diouf. But a major share of the credit must go to coach Bruno Metsu. The Frenchman has succeeded in controlling the traditional African tendency to self-destruct and instilled discipline in a bunch of powerful and athletic footballers.

   

 
 
IN THE CITY 
 
 
 
May 31: 

East Bengal finally get IFA Shield

East Bengal were formally awarded the IFA shield for 2001 in the annual prize distribution ceremony of the IFA Friday.

The Shield final between the city giants and Brazilís Palmeiras in October last was called off after both teams got engaged into a free-for-all. The Brazilian refused to play afterwards and East Bengal were declared champions. East Bengal also got the winnersí cheque of six lakh rupees.

Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya was felicitated by the state association on being named the AFC coach of the month in March.

AIFF later brought the matter to AFC as Palmeiras threatened to take action against the IFA move. However, the IFA is yet to get any communication from the national body, leading to the handing over the trophy to East Bengal.

Semi-finalists identified

Barisha AC and South 24 Parganas girls moved into the semi-finals of the 19th state junior basketball championship Friday. Barisha AC beat Burdwan district 37-22 while South 24 Parganas thrashed Hooghly 40-6. Rakhi Sangha and BBYS were the other semi-finals.

Age-group aquatic meet

Aviroop Dutta Majumdar created a new meet record in the 400 m free-style for boys in the district age-group aquatic championships organised by the Calcutta District Swimming Association Friday.

Other winners

Boys: Samar Mondal (YMCA, 200 m butterfly); Koustav Chakroborty (ILSS, 200 m free-style); A Dhali (ILSS, 200 m free-style); Neelakash Sarkar (ILSS 200 m backstroke), Rahul Saha (Bowbazar, 100 m breast stroke); Rahul Shaw (Bowbazar, 50 m breast stroke); Spandan Banerjee (College Square, 50 m free-style); Koushik Banerjee (Calcutta Sports, 100 m free-style); Dinesh Prasad (Khidirpore, 200 m IM). Girls: Rashmi Sharma (Khidderpore, 400 m free-style); Tamashi Das Dutta (Central, 200 m free-style); Silpa Ghosh (Calcutta Sports, 100 m free-style); Amrapali Das Gupta (Bowbazar, 200 m back-stroke); Somasree Ganguly (College Square, 100 m breast-stroke); Amrapali Das Gupta ( Bowbazar, 100 m back-stroke).

Intikhab winner

Intikhab Ahmed won the YMCA first division snooker championship held at the YMCA (Chowringhee Branch) Friday. In the best-of-five-final, he defeated Sanjeev Sahai 3-1.

TODAY IN SPORT

SOCCER: The Telegraph Merchantsí Cup: Bowl Plates Finals: ITC Infotech vs O&M (4 pm); Losers Plate Final: Bharat Petroleum vs Transways (4:30 pm); Exhibition match (5 pm); Main Plate Finals: Transworld vs India Foils (5:30 pm) (Matches at the CCFC ground)

SOCCER: Womenís league semi-final: Mohun Bagan vs Income Tax (4pm)

ROWING: Inter-school finals at BRC from 3:30 pm

   

 
 
BANGALORE RACES/ TAIPAN HOLDS EDGE 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Bangalore, May 31: 
Working very well, Taipan and Altenburg are the two horses most likely to be involved at the finish of the 1,400m Karnataka Police Cup here on Saturday. The Michael Eshwer-trained ward Taipan, with Malesh Narredu in the saddle, appears to have a slight edge over his rivals and may strike.

SELECTIONS

2.30 pm: Star Illustrious 1. Sea Royale 2. Simple And Sweet 3.
3 pm: Royal Carnival 1. Regal Falcon 2. Brave Persian 3.
3.30 pm: Telegram 1. Oscar 2. Patriotic 3.
4 pm: Taipan 1. Altenburg 2. Spark of Life 3.
4.30 pm: Florale 1. River Nile 2. Tinaís Turn 3.
5 pm: Antequera 1. Purple Princess 2. Aureus 3.
5.30 pm: River of Stars 1. Dare You Say 2. Kingley 3.

Dayís Best: Telegram

Double: Royal Carnival & Antequera.
   
 

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