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EB, Tolly kick off Super Five

Calcutta: The Super Five round of the Calcutta Super Division League starts Saturday with East Bengal taking on Tollygunge Agragami at Salt Lake Stadium. With 25 matches from nine matches, and four matches to go, Subhas Bhowmick’s team is looking good to recapture the title they lost to Mohun Bagan last year.

Bhowmick, however, is far from relieved. Not because Tollygunge put it across Mohun Bagan in the first leg, but because there are a number of injury concerns in his team. After Friday morning’s practice session, Bhowmick informed several of his frontliners are either injured or unwell.

The list includes deep defenders M. Suresh, Douglas Da Silva and Subhashish Chowdhury, medios Alvito D’Cunha and Dipankar Roy and the league’s top-scorer Mike Okoro. The coach didn’t rule out any player, but it was learnt that he is keeping ready contingency plans. Strange it sounds, but one learns that veteram midfielder Tushar Rakshit is being tried out as central defender in practice.

Tollygunge, on 15 points after nine games, are going into a nothing-to-lose game. There is the odd injury scare in their camp, but all the regulars are expected to take the field. Also, Debkumar Sashmal and Sandip Das will return after serving a one-match suspension.

Club secretary Mantoo Ghosh, doubling up as coach with Aloke Mukherjee busy with the national team in Jamshedpur, said his players are under no pressure. “They’ve been told to play god football and prove that beating Mohun Bagan was no fluke,” he said.

Shield next year

The IFA Shield, usually held in September-October, has been pushed back and will be played in January next year. The IFA decided this at a meeting Thursday. It is learnt that this move was made to enable the top clubs play at full strength. If the competition is held before January, the glamour clubs will not be able to utilise the services of those selected for Santosh Trophy and the national team camps.

Mukesh on top

Digvijay Singh, twice winner on the Hero Honda Golf Tour this season, shot a superb five-under 67 but could not displace overnight leader Mukesh Kumar from the top of the leaderboard on the penultimate day of The Hindu Open on Friday. Mukesh shot a three-under 69 on Friday to aggregate 13-under 203.

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