Freak goal takes EB past George
Anirban, Shubham enter semi-finals
Rajiv Mishra eyes comeback
Bhratri script another Md. Sp. loss
�Obolensky� looked rejuvenated

Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
A freak goal seperated East Bengal from George Telegraph in a dull Super Division league match today.

Jackson Egygpong drove a weak free-kick into the wall nine minutes into the match. The ball took a wicked, unintended deflection from Omolaja Olalekan and changed direction completely to enter the goal.

The defending champions, who thus posted their fourth win in six matches to take their tally to 14, couldn�t create any proper chance. Their midfield co-ordination must improve if they harbour hopes of beating Mohun Bagan in Saturday�s Derby.

Debutant Jo Paul Ancheri, who played as central midfielder for 80 minutes, hardly did anything to suggest he was in perfect condition. Moreover, his inclusion seemed to have added confusion among regular midfielders as they didn�t seem to be aware of their �new� responsibilities.

Ancheri did curl in a trademark left-footer towards the far post from the right side of the box midway into the second half, but it swung in late after going past the goalline.

With George happy to go home with a 0-1 scoreline, the home team defenders had a relatively safe time. But there were signs of misunderstanding in the deep defence even against the rare George forays.

George now have seven points from seven games.

Jackson and Anit Ghosh saw a ball being controlled by Pratap Senapati in the heart of the penalty area but the Ghanaian�s last-ditch tackle helped East Bengal avert danger.

Omolaja�s inclusion has made the forward line a little more mobile and East Bengal could have added a second goal had Dipendu Biswas not been selfish. After getting around two defenders in the 37th minute, he had a crack at goal from an acute angle rather than crossing the ball to a clutch of teammates waiting in the striking zone.


EAST BENGAL: Sangram Mukherjee, Falguni Dutta, Anit Ghosh, Jackson Egygpong, Ratan Singh, Jo Paul Ancheri (Dipak Mondal, 80), Chandan Das, Dipak Das, Dipankar Roy, Dipendu Biswas (Srikanta Dutta, 87), Omolaja Olalekan.

GEORGE TELEGRAPH: Raju Ekka, Sukumar Mallick, Sujit Neogi, Amritalal Biswas, Subhankar Maity; Tanuj Ballav, Pinku Banerjee (Debabrata Roy, 78), Shyam Rudra, Goutam Naha, Ashish Das, Pratap Senapati (Prasanta Chakraborty, 75).


Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Anirban Nandy and Shubham Chowdhury, unseeded both, stormed into the men�s singles semi-finals of the inter-institution table tennis meet.

National champion Soumyadeep Roy and Chetan Baboor also reached the last four, but the former had to overcome a 1-3 deficit to oust seventh seed Bhushan Thakur.

In women�s play, fifth seed Mantu Ghosh eliminated No. 4 M.S. Mythili in the quarters. The top three seeds � N.R. Indu, Poulami Ghatak and Mouma Das � posted contrasting wins to make the semis.

Nandy first beat No. 3 Subhajit Saha before halting Arup Basak in the quarters. For comeback man Basak, this was the second early loss in two weeks.

Chowdhury shocked fourth seed Shibaji Dutta while Baboor taught left-handed youngster Sourav Chakraborty some lessons in the men�s game. Chakraborty did have his chances but succumbed to the consistent flow of high-quality shots.

Thakur, who beat Roy in the team championship final yesterday, played another inspired match but ran out of steam in the closing stages. The game witnessed some long rallies and both players retrieved some unbelievable balls.


Men�s quarters: Chetan Baboor bt Sourav Chakraborty 11-7, 11-3, 11-7, 11-7; Soumyadeep Roy bt Bhushan Thakur 9-11, 11-5, 8-11, 6-11, 11-3, 11-5; Shubham Chowdhury bt Shibaji Dutta 12-10, 8-11, 11-8, 11-4, 11-13, 11-8; Anirban Nandy bt Arup Basak 11-7, 21-10, 11-7, 16-14.

Women�s quarters: N.R. Indu bt Anindita Chakraborty 8-11, 11-8, 11-5, 9-11, 7-11, 11-9, 11-6; Mantu Ghosh bt M.S. Mythili 12-10, 11-7, 11-3, 2-11, 11-7; Mouma Das bt Visakha Vijay 11-5, 10-12, 14-12, 0-11, 11-6, 11-5; Poulami Ghatak bt Kasturi Chakraborty 11-8, 12-10, 11-6, 11-8.


Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Injured hockey player Rajiv Mishra has still not thrown in the towel.

After having an operation done by Dr Anant Joshi in Mumbai last January, the 1997 junior World Cup star says he is a lot better now and nursing comeback hopes.

The striker, who was a big hit in the Milton Keynes junior World Cup four years ago, said he underwent the January operation on the advice of IHF secretary K. Jyothikumaran.

The IHF, however, is yet to foot the surgery bills as Mr Jyothikumaran had promised.

Mishra, who left for Benaras today after a week�s holiday in the city, is feeling no pain while jogging and even doing light weight training. However, he is yet to start playing.

�I hastened my comeback after the earlier operation which turned out to be a hasty move. I don�t want to repeat the mistake. If I have to wait longer, so be it,� Mishra said.

The Northern Railway employee said he plans to resume playing at the end of this year and intends playing for East Bengal in the local league � as he had in 1999. He also wants to play for Bengal in the national meet.

�I have to prove that my performance in England was no fluke. That�s my biggest motivation,� Mishra said.


Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Survival in the Super Division is getting increasingly difficult for Mohammedan Sporting and today Bhratri Sangha painted the picture bleaker with a 3-0 win over them at Salt Lake Stadium.

Mohammedan Sporting suffered their sixth loss in seven matches to stay on three points.

Bhratri, fielding two Iraqi recruits for the first time, moved to 18 points from eight games. Abdul Khalique scored twice on either side of half time after Christian Okolonko had hit the first in the second minute.

It resulted from a faulty clearance and the Nigerian was prompt to make most of it. Okolonko set up Khalique for the second in the 32nd minute off a counter attack.

Khalique scored a delightful third in the 69th with a right-footer outswinger from outside the box.


BHRATRI SNAGHA: Abhijit Mondal; Babun Kar, Nilanjan Guha, A.H. Dikash, Arun Malhotra; Palash Karmakar, Abdul Sadique (Prakash Kolay, 77), Hafa Hamid, Dipankar Biswas (Goutam Debnath, 67); Abdul Khalique, Chirstian Okolonko (Mohammed Qaiser, 67).

MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING: Arijit Sengupta; Shakil Ahmed, Amit Dutta, Insaan Ali (Debu Pradhan, 71); Mohammed Rafique, Arunava Sarkar, Alauddin Rahman, Prasenjit Pal, Ashok Murmu (Sarawar Ali, 59), Ayan Bin Abdul Haq, Lawrence.

Referee: Subrata Sarkar.

Aikya win 1-0

Aikya Sammilani beat Barisha SC 1-0 while Behala Youth and Garalgacha SC drew goalless in the first division group A .


Some years ago, Madame Bovary won the mile-and-half Bangalore Oaks. So puzzling was the start-to-finish victory of the sprints specialist that jockeys of some fancied runners in the race were suspended for riding incompetent race. In a slow-run Oaks, the Bovary had built up a long lead nearing the home-turn, and had kicked on to win. The moral of the story is that any horse � fancied or unfancied � allowed a long break in the last three furlongs, is capable of doing the unexpected.

Last Saturday, apprentice Fateh Ali Khan went through a similar motion on Prince Obolensky in the 1,800m Portofino Cup. He won the race in an identical fashion while jockey Cristopher Alford, atop the red-hot 3-10 favourite Arendal, was accused by all and sundry for riding to lose. Maybe, the boy is making too many mistakes of late but his intention on Arendal was honourable. The fact is that Arendal comes with a short burst of acceleration in the stretch-run. Therefore, Cristopher was in no position to utilise it early in the race to put himself at a disadvantage when things mattered most. Further, it has to be said that Prince Obolensky was not stopping in the final-furlong and the John Stephens-trainee looked to be a rejuvenated six-year-old as he went great guns in the home run.

Prince Obolensky�s blow was, however, of a moderate variety compared to the other two served by Iron Warrior in the Clamp Handicap and Bold Apparel in the Whiplash Cup. The Daniel David-trainee Bold Apparel�s was a deadly blow, though a heavy wagering came on his stable-mate Secret Adversary who went to the start as a 6-4 favourite.

Trying to win from the start, jockey P. Kumar managed to tire the three-year-old as Software, the second horse in the betting, joined him up front and refused to let the favourite get settled. The two public esteemed runners cried off from the fray much before the race took a serious turn. The back-benchers thus loomed large on the scene with Bold Apparel producing purposeful acceleration to retire as a convincing winner. The Apparel, being a Mumbai-migrant, had the potential to beat the present lot. The last two runs of the Sizzling Melody-Mission four-year-old were, however, so poor that he never attracted support. The stewards, nevertheless, opened an inquiry into the improved performance of the Daniel-trainee.

Iron Warrior, on the other hand, looked a picture in the paddock after his lung-opening run three weeks ago. More than anything what impressed in the race was the handling of the Farley Rodrigues-ward by raw apprentice Rao Dalpat Singh. It was his tenacious handling of the six-year-old that won the race and hearts, too. The 8-1 chance looked to be squarely beaten nearing the distance-post when Cristopher brought along a better fancied Stella Blue into the fray. But with persistent niggling and pushing of the Warrior Dalpat managed to snatch the verdict virtually at the post.

Among the favourites, Crest Star was the most facile winner following a one-sided wagering on him � from 3�s down to evens in the Diesel Handicap. Not that the younger lot of Tsaynen Blue and Alumnus in the opposition went easy. They needed this run as well.

Rescue Act, in the opener, the Maltese Handicap, was far from comfortable when the Bharath Singh-trainee beat the debutant Calculate. It was because the Procida-Irresistible three-year-old found the 1,400m trip little taxing without the benefit of a run. He is bound to improve further. Favourite Tajik, too, found the opposition an easy pray in the 1,200m Not Much Handicap. His victory was made further easy by Raaz, the second favourite, who failed to take a clean jump.

Aflicker cashed in on his form, though the Bharath-ward was fully tested by Kargil Soldier and Sky Command in the Aureole Time Handicap.


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