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Bengal stare at early exit

Calcutta: Lying at the bottom of Group B with just one point in their kitty so far, even the most optimistic Bengal supporter won’t fancy the team of securing a last-four berth in the ongoing Santosh Trophy.

If Bengal’s efforts against in their opening match against Punjab was decent, their performance in the next game versus Goa was abysmally bad. To keep their hopes afloat in the competition, Bengal desperately need to win their remaining two matches, first of which is against Railways, on Monday afternoon, at the Kanchenjunga Stadium, in Siliguri.

Coach Sisir Ghosh, though, feels it’s too early to give up hopes. “We can qualify for the semi-finals if we win our next two matches. We shouldn’t be so pessimistic,” he said on Sunday.

Against both Punjab and Goa, Bengal did have the upper hand for certain periods of play. But it was the crucial moments that they couldn’t grab. Sisir, too, agreed that failing to grab the opportunities on offer had pushed them to rock bottom.

“Yes, we lost the crucial moments, especially against Goa. But at the same time, fortune wasn’t on our side during yesterday’s match. We were a bit unlucky I would say,” Sisir opined.

Barring captain Kartik Kisku, other players haven’t been able to come up with notable performances. Nabin Hela, who was impressive last year, has been off-colour.