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The tale of blunders started in the first minute � when East Bengal squandered one of the few chances they eventually created � and left the 40,000 spectators bemused, with the Mohun Bagan defence producing what was perhaps its worst performance in recent �big� matches.
As if to reciprocate all the false moves and inaccurate passes, referee Supriya Bhattacharjee had a rather forgettable day in office and must have thanked his stars for not letting things veer out of control.
Anit Ghosh got the goal at the stroke of half time with some significant help from the rival defenders. The green-and-maroon men were mere spectators when Dipendu Biswas tried to break into the box with Srikanta Dutta for company.
They failed, without being challenged, and Anit picked up the ball just outside the box and everybody assumed the ball would be relayed back to Dipendu. Instead, Anit cracked a low left-footer which whistled past goalkeeper Bivash Ghosh. The shot was powerful but the goalkeeper didn�t even dive.
Srikanta was a central character in the tale of misdeeds and two of his adventures stood out for complete lack of common-sense. The striker picked up a rare clever through from Carlton Chapman in the 64th minute and had just the �keeper to beat from about ten yards but his feeble left-footer crawled into the lap of Bivash.
His selfish approach cost East Bengal a goal seven minutes later when he refused to pass the ball to Dipendu only to be dispossessed.
The Mohun Bagan defenders looked insipid and though there was not much pressure let in several balls despite maintaining numerical superiority in the defensive zone.
Stopper-backs Shib Shankar Santra and M. Suresh formed a clumsy pair and striker Joao Dos Santos was seen clearing the ball from where left-back would normally stand even in the dying stages.
Their mid-field play was non-existent and there was absolutely no supply for Santos and Jose Ramirez Barreto. James Singh and R.C. Prakash were hardly visible and defensive medios Debjit Ghosh and Dulal Biswas, especially the former, lost possession whenever a move was brewing.
They were ably complemented by the East Bengal mid-fielders who played a slew of wrong passes and looked desperate to defend the lead right after the interval.
The supervision was nightmarish with East Bengal�s Jackson Egygopong getting away with several rough tackles after being booked and Srikanta was shown just a yellow card for an unnecessary, off-the-ball push on Bivash.
The height of it was witnessed midway into the second half when Dipendu fell near the centre circle. He stayed like that for some time as the ball travelled to distant corners of the turf with the referee, amazingly, positioned near the injured player. He could have either ignored the player and stayed near the ball or stopped play to pay attention to the extent of the injury but did neither.
Dipendu�s individual brilliance and initiative and the tussle between Dipak Mondal and Barreto were the only gains from the lacklustre show and the defender impressed all with his water-tight marking. Barreto was never allowed to turn or dribble and saw teammates losing possession on the couple of occasions he managed to do so.
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At the centre of the coach�s ire was the official. But he was not as harsh on his defenders. �Yes, our defenders played below expectations but we kept East Bengal under pressure.�
He said his team was denied a penalty and numerous fouls on his Brazilian forwards Joao Dos Santos and Jose Ramirez Barreto were overlooked.
East Bengal coach Syed Nayeemuddin said he was happy with the performance because it won them the trophy. Otherwise, he added with a grin, he would give the team 15 out of 100!
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Eleven teams will take part in teams contests, open singles, open doubles and veterans�, all being men�s events. Fifty participants will be in the teams and singles events, in was informed at a press meet here today.
Life Insurance Corporation were champions last year, while Food Corporation of India were runners-up. Harsh Chopra of FCI is top seed, B. Manohar Kumar of Oriental Insurance is second seed, followed by Ajoy Jha of FCI.
Thakur for Mauritius
Santosh Thakur of Bengal has made it to the 12-member junior national boxing team for a Mauritius tour. He was at a three-phase three-month camp in Patiala before the selection. He will take part in an international meet in Mauritius.
Thakur has been national champion four times as sub-junior, and this year as junior. He got his coaching from Tapan basu at Shibpur Reserve Police Lines boxing ring in Howrah, according to a Bengal Ameteur Boxing Federation press release issued here today.
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Fide rated Yambem of De Regina English High School drew his final round game with Sashank Singh of Nichol�s High School, Guwahati to top the meet. Gurumayum clinched the second spot, drawing his game with Rajib Dhar of Netaji Vidyapeeth Railway Higher Secondary School, Maligaon.
Both Yambem and Gurumayum had 7.5 points each, but the former finished first by virtue of better progressive score.
Six players were tied with seven points each. After the tie break on the basis of their progressive scores, Lairengjam Mahesh Singh of Adimjati Little English School, Imphal, and Rajib were placed third and fourth respectively.
Sashank (fifth), Moirangtham Shanta Singh of Chingdompok High School, Imphal (sixth), Nandan Buragohain of Nazira Higher Secondary School, Sibsagar (seventh) and Nabajyoti Boro of A-New-High School, Tinsukia (eighth) were the others who finished with seven points.
The toss a coin broke the Nandan-Nabajyoti tie, as both had identical progressive scores.
Meghnath Rabha of Phaguna Rabha High School, Guwahati, and Trailokya Nanda of Edith Douglas School, Jorhat, came ninth and tenth. They had 6.5 points each.
The final round, however, disappointed the crowd that had gathered to watch some nailbiting encounters on the top boards today. The Gurumayum-Rajib and Yambem-Sashank matches failed to generate any excitement as they decided to split points after 15 or so perfunctory moves.
In an interesting game on table No.7, playing white pieces, Abhinov Baruah of Carmel School, Jorhat spoiled a chance to win his match against Pritam Sarkar of Children�s Paradise School, Tezpur.
Among the girls, the top scorer was Sazina Yasmin of Mangoldoi Town Girls� High School who collected 5.5 points.
The top six of the Guwahati leg and the top five of the Jamshedpur leg have qualified for the final leg to be held in Calcutta.
An impressive prize distribution ceremony at Kumar Bhaskar Natya Mandir brought an end to the chess festival today. The chief guest, Grandmaster Dibyendu Barua, reminded the players and their parents that there is no shortcut to success.
�You cannot become champions overnight,� he said and advised them to cultivate patience and perseverance. He added that they should pursue their goal with dedication and the results would follow in course of time.
Disneyland School romped home with The Telegraph 2000 best school trophy.
THE TOP 10
1. Yambem Dhanabir Singh (7.5); 2. Gurumayum Inao Sharma (7.5); 3. Lairengjam Mahesh Singh (7); 4. Rajib Dhar (7); 5. Sashank Singh (7); 6. Moiranthem Shanta Singh (7); 7. Nandan Buragohain 8. Nabajyoti Boro (7); 9. Meghnath Rabha (6.5) and 10. Trailokya Nanda (6.5).
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The General holds strong views about this branch of sport. �Horseracing must be seen as an industry, an entertainment industry which has survived for over 150 years. It generates huge revenue for the state. It is part of Calcutta�s heritage. It has to be saved,� feels the General. �Yes, distributing time between the RCTC and the Rajya Sabha duties (to which he has been elected recently) has to be worked out,� added the General.
The General also sounded very concerned about the state of the club�s finances. But no miracles should be expected. RCTC may have to wait. The General may put his plans into motion in the coming weeks after a meeting or two with fellow stewards and the club�s officials. The clock is set to be turned.
First three events in Thursday�s race-card were bagged by the course-favourites and the outsiders popped up only after the �Senior� made his way towards the exit gate.
Nevertheless, in the opener, the Kilcloon Handicap, the fashionably filly Alvarada, lived up to her bloodlines as she won the way she liked. Equally impressive was the victory of Alyssum in the Fire Flash Cup. The two Vijay Singh trainees were partnered by Cristopher Alford and looked destined for higher classes.
In between the two classy performances, Dizzy Diver had an easy measure of Noble Canonire and the rest in the Vasto Handicap. In the paddock parade, the Mujeeb-trainee looked the fittest of all thus went to the start as a 7-4 favourite.
Mystic Hill and the monsoon track are known to be poles apart, yet the Vijay Singh trainee made every post of the 1,200m Commuter Cup a triump-hant one. The dry spell and hard track must have been the reason behind his success. Cristopher on Acquest, the 6-4 favourite tried his hardest but failed by a good half-a-length at the wire. The fourth placed Adventure could be counted upon to do better in her next start as the Riyahi-Glimmer Of Water mare may strip fitter after this run.
Cup Of life was a fluent winner of the Mr. Mauritius Cup but the second placed Rheinheart could have finished lot closer had the Harbinder Singh Bath-trainee had a free galloping room between 800m and 300m. Favourite Hurricane Star, a �jointy� horse failed to to raise alarm for a victory in immediate future.
Luck was with trainer Bath in the concluding event, the Balchand Handicap when Software landed the prize for the stable. The Gold Discovery-Great Beauty filly looked fluent in her victory. When she left the favourite, Alesund � a debutante � in vehement chase. With his saddled slipped right after the start, Manohar Singh On Privy Council was at a receiving end.