Bagan bounce back on Barreto boom
Yuvraj likely for final XI
CISF beat SRC as BSF, Army draw
Four more NFL ties tipped as fund-raisers
Mumbai Racing/ Easy victory for Different Crown
Track Trials/ Iron Warrior, Armila shine

Calcutta, April 4: 

Twice in the arrears and twice drawn level. Then, in one stormy burst, Mohun Bagan today took the wind out of FC Kochin�s title aspirations with a brilliant 4-2 victory, Jose Ramirez Barreto scoring three and substitute Sumit Sengupta scoring the other.

The two temporary leaders for Kochin were from their mercurial Liberian striker/goalkeeper Sunday Seah, for who it was the first 90-minute match as a striker.

The tie also had two marching orders, off a rather obtuse foul by two equally unimpressive players onfield: Amar Ganguly for Bagan and Rasheedi Williams for Kochin.

Barreto and Seah were the fulcrums for the two teams. While there was enough encouragement by way of passes and midfield play by Basudeb Mondal for the Calcutta team with Bangladeshi Alfaz Ahmed often spelling danger in the rival ranks, Eugene Gray and Aaron Cole (both Liberians) were the main props for Kochin.

Midfield action was unimaginative, and goalmouth attitude was poor. The fact that the match did rise to the height that it did today was because of some fine goals and the reverse of fate.

There were no supporters at the ground to cheer, less, there were none to jeer. Because, in the 33rd minute, off a counterattack and a corner, Kochin�s Dinesh sent the ball to the goalmouth and the opportunist Seah wasted no time in banging home.

Seven minutes later the smiles were back on Mohun Bagan lips as Barreto took up an Alfaz pass and shot home from close.

That smile vanished five minutes into the second session, when Seah � still in the attack line, despite his absence weakening the Kochin defence � was in possession of a ball that came off a 30-yarder off Gray and off the legs of Cole. Seah�s long, low volley was a treat to watch as it moved in, as Sandip Nandy dived in vain to stop.

In the red again, Mohun Bagan really turned on the pressure. There was a lot of activity at the Kochin goalmouth, and in the 67th minute Lolendra Singh lifted one from the top of the box and as Shanmugam raced to collect, Barreto from the right outjumped and headed in smartly.

A small breather after parity was restored, and Bagan was again in the attack. Four minutes later Barreto was up the left and into the box from where he sent a measured lob to the goalmouth. As Shanmugam charged, substitute Sumit collected the ball coolly and took his time to control and send home a right-footed volley.

In the 31st minute of the second half Dulal Biswas moved to the right corner of the box and sent a high lob to the goalmouth which was rather crowded. There were a lot of heads in the air, but Barreto�s initiative was the most intense, as he managed to nod home the final nail on the Kochin coffin.

With five minutes to go, a minor altercation at the Kochin goalmouth saw Rasheedi quickly use his elbow on Amar Ganguly (who had already had two bad misses and an yellow card to his credit after his entry in the 52nd minute). Ganguly, in full view of referee J. Ravishankar, slapped Rasheedi (who also had been booked before). Both were summarily marched out. A good decision.

The match pushed Mohun Bagan on 35 points from 18 matches and left Kochin on 32 from 18. East Bengal, before they take on Mohun Bagan on April 10, meet Tollygunge Agragami (on Friday).


MOHUN BAGAN: Sandip Nandy, Dulal Biswas, Amouri, Hussein Mustafi, Lolendra Singh, Jayanta Sen (Amar Ganguly, 52), Basudeb Mondal, Debjit Ghosh, James Singh, Alfaz Ahmed (Sumit Sengupta, 68), Ramirez Barreto.

FC KOCHIN: Shibu Shanmugam, Dinesh V. Nair, Rasheedi Williams, VB Santosh, CK Jitesh, Eugene Gray, KA Anson (MA Rajesh Kumar, 43), MK Sunil, CV Hemanthan, Sunday Seah (PK Anil Kumar, 87), Aaron Cole.

Referee: J Ravishankar.


Mumbai, April 4: 
Yuvraj Singh, who made a fantastic impression in his first ODI against Australia, in Kenya (ICC KnockOut) last October, may make the starting XI Friday, at the Nehru Stadium in Margao.

With the five-match series tied 2-2, the winner there (reportedly, the Stadium has never looked better) will emerge best in a set of encounters where the victory margins have been heavy.

Originally overlooked for this about-to-end series versus the world champions, Yuvraj made it as replacement for the injured Virender Sehwag. Of course, he wasn�t fielded in either Pune, Indore or Vizag.

Though the 19-year-old�s debut was against Kenya, in Nairobi itself, Yuvraj�s first outing with the bat was versus Australia, in the quarter finals. He smashed a superb 84, to help India pull off a great win, besides pocketing the MoM award. Yuvraj, though, never quite repeated that effort in any of his next 12 ODIs. Come Friday and he could get one more chance to deliver in what will be a crunch game.

According to The Telegraph�s sources, Yuvraj will probably make the XI at veteran Robin Singh�s expense. After being sidelined from Bangalore to Indore, Robin was fielded in Vizag but did nobody�s cause any good.

It is understood the thinktank may even consider capping off-spinner Sarandeep Singh if it is convinced the Margao wicket will offer much purchase to spinners. Harbhajan Singh and Sarandeep are the only two specialist spinners in the XIV.

If Sarandeep does get the nod, one of the quicks will have to make way.

Both teams reached this series� final destination soon after lunch today, from Vizag, and both had an off-day. It is learnt the Australians spent much of the time by the truly exotic Taj Exotica pool, while the Indians engaged in exercises by the beach.

Where the Australians are concerned, the big debate centres around the rotation policy introduced by captain Steve Waugh and coach John Buchanan. For all his credentials, there�s a chance this policy will see Glenn McGrath being rested.

For one, McGrath�s body-language, for the past few matches, has been conveying that he has had enough of the heat and dust in India. Secondly, he hasn�t been able to shackle Sachin Tendulkar in the all-important first spell.

Given the circumstances, then, Ian Harvey could be preferred to McGrath. Nothing, though, is official. In any case, had Nathan Bracken been fit, McGrath wouldn�t have played in Indore.

To the outsider, this rotation policy may not make much sense, but the Australians believe they can succeed with any combination. Certainly, no other team management would have been so bold as to drop the in-form Matthew Hayden, in Indore.

It didn�t quite work, however, and that one experience could just force Steve and Buchanan to put the rotation on hold, at least in the decider. It would appear �all options� are being considered.

Incidentally, though it�s not going to be an influencing factor, India have lost both their ODIs in Margao � to Sri Lanka, in late 1990 and, again, in end 1997.


Calcutta, April 4: 
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) today blanked out Sikh Regimental Centre (SRC) 3-0 in their 106th Indianoil Beighton Cup hockey tournament quarter final league match at the Mohun Bagan ground.

In the other match of the day, at the CC&FC ground, Border Security Force (BSF) and Army XI failed to score.

CISF went ahead in the 17th minute of the match when G.V. Xaxa scored off a goalmouth melee. It sort of showed the way the match would go, with CISF personnel moving into the rival defence zone regularly.

In the 42nd minute Kangra Munda � who threw back the equaliser for CISF off a penalty corner conversion when the team was down 0-1 to BSF yesterday � set up the second goal. His pass from the top of the D got Pervez in possession, and the latter scored fluently.

Fifteen minutes later it was Xaxa again in the forefront. He proved the opportunist, as he pounced onto a Cyril Ekka centre and sounded the boards to round off the tally.

State chess

The 27th state women�s and 29th state men�s junior and 24th state sub-junior chess championships will be held at the Khudiram Anushilan Kendra from April 10 to 17.

A participation of 150 is expected, says a West Bengal Chess Associaton press release, with most top players in fray. The top four from each of these meets will qualify for the respective national chess meets.


Calcutta, April 4: 
Four more key matches of the fifth National Football League have finally been allocated as fund-raiser matches for the earthquake victims of Gujarat.

The teams involved in the fun-raising programme would be Mahindra United, Air India, Salgaocar, Zee Churchill Brothers, Mohun Bagan, Kingfisher East Bengal, FC Kochin and State bank of Travancore.

The matches have been selected, keeping in mind the fact that since the League is nearing its end, the interest level is likely to rise.

The following are the fixtures of the matches as it stands now:

April 6: Mahindra United vs Air India (Mumbai).
April 8: Salgaocar vs Churchill (Goa).
April 10: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal (Calcutta).
April 16: FC Kochin vs SBT (Kochi).

Mumbai, April 4: 
Different Crown, a rank-outsider from trainer Magansigh Jodha�s yard. recorded a two-length fluent victory in the 1,400m Alijah Trophy at the Mumbai races held on Wednesday. P. Belose partnered the four-year-old by White Crown out of Different Song.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Edarky Arabian Plate, Div-I 1,400m: (5-3-2) Whispering Rock (Rupesh) 1; Sleepyhead 2; Sacred Fire 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 1-1/4; (1-28.7). Tote: Win Rs 93; Place: 25; 18; 25; Quinella: 188; Tanala: 2,411. Fav: Final Cut (4).

2. Wild Obsession Plate 1,400m: (3-4-1) Royal Amaretto (Prakash) 1; Divine Quest 2; Foolish Prestige 3. Won by: 8; Dist; (1-29.2). Tote: Win Rs 12; Place: 11; 14; Quinella: 15; Tanala: 29. Fav: Royal Amaretto (3).

3. Edarky Arabian Plate, Div-II 1,400m: (3-2-8) Days Of Thunder (S. Nayak) 1; Act Of Trust 2; Golden Glitter 3. Won by: 1/2; 3-1/4; (1-29.9). Tote: Win Rs 56; Place: 19; 27; 44; Quinella: 161; Tanala: 2,952. Fav: Authentic (7).

4. Karibuni Plate 1,400m: (3-7-2) Sarena Pride (Prakash) 1; Scandalise 2; Midnight Escape 3. Won by: 1-3/4; 1/2; (1-27.9). Tote: Win Rs 59; Place: 21; 25; 12; Quinella: 219; Tanala: 1,245. Fav: Midnight Escape (2).

5. Hydrofoil Plate 1,200m: (1-3-12) Majestic Hills (Prakash) 1; Cloud Nine 2; Discover 3. Won by: Hd; 5; (1-14.2). Tote: Win Rs 32; Place: 15; 45; 14; Quinella: 649; Tanala: 970. Fav: Discover (12).

6. Alijah Trophy 1,400m: (5-10-8) Different Crown (Belose) 1; Josh King 2; Wine N� Song 3. Won by: 2-1/4; 2; (1-27). Tote: Win Rs 341; Place: 59; 19; 27; Quinella: 1,140; Tanala: 13,868. Fav: Big Bertha (6).

7. K. J. K. Irani Plate 1,000m: (1-4-2) Osprey (Aadesh) 1; Charging Bullet 2; Raise A Toast 3. Won by: 1/2; Hd; (1-2.4). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 15; 50; 22; Quinella: 284; Tanala: 1,309. Fav: Osprey (1).

Jackpot: Rs 1,69,740 (Carried over).

Treble: (i) Rs 235; (ii) Rs 61,090 (Carried over).

Calcutta, April 4: 
Iron Warrior, Freedom Warrior, Armila and No Regrets were impressive in today�s work outs

Outer sand track

800m: Freedom Warrior (Rb), Arco Europa (Amil) and Alembic (C. Alford) in 56s; (400m) 29 2/5s. They were separated by 1 length and 2 ls. Key Witness (Surender) in 56s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Iron Warrior (Upadhya) and Giorgio (Rb) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Former was 6 ls better. Pistol Star (A. P. Singh) 58s; (400m) 30s. Easy. Eau Savage (Shanker) in 1-0s; (400m) 30s. Storm Centre (Upadhya) and Supreme Desire (Rb) in 1-3s; (400m) 30s. Former was easily 4 ls better. Double Dancer (Manohar) in 56s; (400m) 29s. Easy. Appyness (C. Alford) and Reactor (Shanker) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Former was a length better. Diplomatic Gesture (M. Reuben) and Tequila Shot (Shanker) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Former was a 4 ls better. No Regrets (Gowli) and Flying Scot (Manohar) in 54s; (400m) 27s. Former was 4 ls better.

Sand track

1,200m: Global Harmony (P. Kumar) in 1-23s; (400m) 26s. Easy.

800m: Crest Star (Amjad K.) in 1-3s; (400m) 31s. Armila (Yasin) and All Jade (Locke) in 50s; (400m) 25s. Former was 6 ls. Better.

600m: Ballard Lady (M. Reuben) and Lovely Prospect (A. Imran) in 44s; (400m) 27s. Former was far better. Maltayar (Som S.) in 44s; (400m) 28s. Fencai (M. Reuben) in (400m) 24s. Good.    


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