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Bagan on a salvage mission

Margao: Tuesday’s key encounter between defending champions Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar here will probably throw up a clearer picture about the National Football League positions at the top.

While East Bengal are now clear favourites to claim the title, both Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar are still in with a chance, considering they seven more matches to play.

Mohun Bagan missed a golden chance to breathe down the neck of their arch-rivals in the title-race, by settling for a 1-1 draw with Mahindra United at home on Friday.

Mohun Bagan held the Mumbai outfit, thanks to a 89th minute goal via a controversial penalty kick. A win would have pushed them to second place, pipping Salgaocar on goal difference. Instead, that result put Mohun Bagan at 22 points from 14 games while Salgaocar are still in the second spot with 24. East Bengal are enjoying a handsome lead from the rest at 33.

For the Calcutta outfit, a lot will depend on how India captain Bhaichung Bhutia gets to his form. He made a comeback against Mahindra after an injury-induced lay-off since December 16, but looked somehow out of touch. “There is still a long way to go. We just need to keep on winning,” he said.

Salgaocar, on the other hand, need a few cracks to be repaired in their defence. In another match, Mahindra will host JCT at the Cooperage. (AGENCIES)

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