It�s just another game, feels Deep
Mohun Bagan ride Barreto brace
Palmeiras favourites vs Muktijoddha
Big 2 in trouble over Maidan closure
Oil India win
Johansson for Chennai meet
Ghei leads on Day I
Mysore Racing/ Whatmore for main event
Mysore Racing/ Soviet Song wins
Calcutta Racing/ Track trials

Calcutta, Oct.4: 
Come tomorrow and Anil Kumble will return to big-league cricket after a year. Even Sachin Tendulkar will be coming back after three months.

Much of the spotlight, then, will be on them as India tackle South Africa in the tri-series opener, at the Wanderers. The attention, though, will also be on debutant-wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta.

�There�s that excitement, yes, but I�m not nervous. Actually, while it�s going to be such a big day, I intend treating the match as just another game,� Deep, 24, told The Telegraph this morning.

Speaking from the team�s hotel in Johannesburg, Deep added: �If I don�t, I�ll simply be inviting more pressure. So, you could say, it�s a tactical move!�

That Deep (and teammates) have had ten days to acclimatise, has been a boon. Only, unlike what was anticipated, the wickets haven�t been bouncy.

�The wicket in our first match (versus Nicky Oppenheimer�s XI) was batsman-friendly, while the one yesterday (in the game against South Africa A) was very slow� The bounce, therefore, hasn�t been disconcerting,� Deep remarked.

Deep had three A victims (all caught) and insisted he was �comfortable� wearing the big gloves. Significantly, India won both matches.

An Ian Healy-worshipper, Deep has been working at the basics and, as not everybody is straightaway at ease �keeping to Kumble, he has also been �talking� to the star leg-spinner.

�I think I�ve been doing reasonably well, whenever Kumble has bowled� Of course, it�s a new experience and I�ll keep learning,� Deep pointed out.

According to Deep, coach John Wright has been making a daily assessment and his �suggestions� have helped. A good first impression coupled with fine performances in the rest of the tri-series and Deep could stay for the three Tests (November 3-27) as well.

�Well, yes, but right now I�m focussed on the job at hand� Sure, I�ll be thinking of a lot of people (tomorrow), but not to the point of being distracted,� Deep observed.

�It�s probably easier making the debut overseas,� had been Deep�s comment a few days before leaving for South Africa. In the past ten days, he has learnt there are few �easy� moments when the top-bracket is made.

A case in point being the injury �scare� last week, on day No.1 of formal training at the Wanderers. �There was a collision with (Venkatesh) Prasad, which called for an ice-pack on the right knee� Next morning, I was back at training,� Deep explained.

First came the demanding workouts and, then, two games in three days. Tough but, then, international cricket isn�t like a stroll on the Strand or a walk through Connaught Place.

Deep (a Delhiite till well into into teens), however, is �ready.�

Incidentally, another wicketkeeper from Bengal, Syed Saba Karim, made his India debut during the last trip to South Africa (1996-97). He finished with 34 one-dayers and one Test.


Calcutta, Oct. 4: 
Mohun Bagan 2
Tollygunge 1

Conditions didn�t favour good football today and the story never went beyond script. After ploughing the Salt Lake Stadium mud for 90 minutes, Mohun Bagan earned a 2-1 win over Tollygunge Agragami to enter the semi-finals of the 107th IFA Shield.

Today�s result set up a semi-final clash, which will double up as a much-awaited city Derby at the same venue Saturday. However, the city�s most awaited soccer show may again turn into a battle on sticky and slippery earth, if, weather and ground realities don�t change dramatically.

Mohun Bagan�s Abdulateef Seriki was ejected for a second booking in the 79th minute and James Singh picked up his second yellow card of the tournament. Both will be out of the match against East Bengal.

The turf prevented healthy competition today and it took a miss, an easy strike and a very special touch from Jose Ramirez Barreto to ensure Mohun Bagan�s progress. Akim Abolanle poached in a goal in between to make things even for a very short period.

At least two of the goals resulted from unpredictable rolling of the ball caused by the mud and Barreto didn�t seem too charged up to unveil his best. Things, however, changed for good in the tenth minute when the Brazilian missed a chance and he became desperate to make amends for it.

Following a horrible mistake by �keeper Sandip Nandy, when he left the box and raced towards the left touchline to keep Seriki from wresting possession only to lose the challenge, James got the ball and hooked it back towards the goal. It took a deflection from one of the several defenders manning the goal and bounced back to Barreto who saw the crammed goalmouth and went for a header above the crowd. To his horror, the ball bounced back from the bar.

Barreto, who got painted in mud without a drop of rain during the match, was looking disgusted but the miss jerked him back into action. But he had to thank the slush for the first goal in the 41st minute. R.P. Singh beat an advancing Nandy to a through but discovered in disbelief that his goal-bound push got stuck in the mud before being cleared.

However, the clearance was intercepted by James, who ran into the box and took a shot at goal. The shot was punched back by Nandy but Barreto snapped up the rebound.

Tollygunge replied in the 56th minute. Akim chased a through, took possession and sent a left-footer goalwards before the ball got stuck again. Lolendra Singh, retreating to save the goal, couldn�t put a brake on his run and slided past the goalline with the ball. The referee failed to notice this and Akim was credited with the goal.

The Tollygunge celebrations were ephemeral as two minutes later, R.C. Prakash got the ball near the left touchline and played it to Barreto who was about to enter the box. The ball at his feet didn�t bring any noticeable change in his movement and he saw the goalkeeper charging out to narrow the angle. Without trying to dodge past him, Barreto simply stopped the ball with the sole of his left boot, which threw Nandy off-balance. A little flick towards the left and Barreto was there in front of an open goal. A right-footed placement settled the issue.


MOHUN BAGAN: Bivash Ghosh; Dulal Biswas, Amauri da Silva, Hussain Mustafi, Lolendra Singh; James Singh, Basudeb Mondal (Amar Ganguly, 70), R.P. Singh (Sumit Sengupta, 89), Rennedy Singh (R.C. Prakash, 37); Jose Ramirez Barreto, Abdulateef Seriki.

TOLLYGUNGE AGRGAMI: Sandip Nandy; Partha Sarathi Dey, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury (Biswanath Mondal, 63), Satish Bharti, Amitava Chanda; Mehtab Hossain (Arjan Ali, 82), Sandip Das, Adeola Adeyeri, Sashthi Duley (Nazimul Haque, 74); Moses Owira, Akim Abolanle.

Referee: P. Bhaskar.


Calcutta, Oct. 4: 
The 107th IFA Shield moves into the semi-final stage with Palmeiras of Brazil taking on Bangladesh�s Muktijoddha at Howrah Municipal Stadium tomorrow.

Bangladesh are ranked 148th by Fifa and Brazil are second. The difference between the Asian nation�s top club and the second team of a crack outfit from the land of Pele, however, isn�t as stark.

True, the Bazilians start favourites but they will first have to contend with a turf, which may be detrimental to good soccer in case of more rain. Muktijoddha, contrarily, are expected to play a waiting game, considering Palmeiras� 6-1 quarter-final rout of Vietnam�s Nam Dinh yesterday.

The number of goals apart, the real strength of Palmeiras has not been seen yet and it�s not known how they will fare against better teams. Even the Palmeiras coach said he expects Muktijoddha to defend and look to score only on the counter.


Calcutta, Oct. 4: 
The statutory closure of Maidan activities from October 1-15 has put the Big Two in trouble. With the IFA Shield reaching a crucial stage, the clubs are finding it difficult to train at their grounds. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have both experienced this as people concerned have reminded them of the closure.

Mohun Bagan have sought a clarification from the police, asking why they should not be allowed to train at their own ground between this period. �It�s a pre-independence rule, why persist with it?� argued a senior club official.

He added that Army officials have also been informed of the inconvenience since major parts of the Maidan are under regulations of the Ministry of Defence.

East Bengal are yet to lodge a formal complaint.


Guwahati, Oct. 4: 
Former champions Oil India Limited (OIL) opened their Bordoloi Trophy campaign today with a 5-1 rout of last year�s runners-up 2nd Assam State Reserve Force at the Nehru Stadium here.

For OIL, E.L Nathan, Tridip Khound and Prafulla Hazarika scored a goal each while Bhupen Gogoi netted two. Bolen Ramchiary was the sole scorer for the ASRF.

In the match played at Sualkuchi, Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) beat Maharana 6-5 in a sudden death after regulation time got over goalless. In the tie-breaker too both sides were locked 4-4.


Calcutta, Oct. 4: 
Thomas Johansson of Sweden, currently ranked 18th in the ATP Champions� Race, will participate in the Tata Open to be held in Chennai from December 31 to January 6.

This was announced by tournament director Sheila Maniam in Mumbai yesterday.

Johansson, the top ranked Swede, has already won two ATP titles this year, at Halle in Germany and Nottingham in England.


Calcutta, Oct. 4: 
Playing in his wife�s home-town on her birthday seemed to have worked wonders for Gaurav Ghei as he took a share of the lead on the first day of the Sher-e-Kashmir Open.

According to information received here, the Rs. 15 lakh tournament, the first �major� on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour, is being held at the city�s Royal Springs Golf Club

Leaders (after 18 holes) � 68: Gaurav Ghei, Jaiveer Virk, Sheeraz Kalra; 70: Jyoti Randhawa, Ranjit Singh, Rohtas Singh, Vijay Kumar, Mukesh Kumar; 71: Dinesh Raghuvanshi, Shamim Khan, Rafiq Ali, Pradeep Kumar, Feroz Ali; 72: Gurki Shergill, Vinod Kumar, Rahul Ganapathy, Monish Bindra, KPS Sekhon. Amateurs � 74: Ashfaq Ahmed; 76: Ghalib Shah; 82: Suhail Khanday.


Mysore, Oct. 4: 
Whatmore, an outstanding winner in his last start over a mile, looks best of the four runners in the field to lift the 1,800m The Hindu Gold Trophy tomorrow. K. P. Appu. rides the Z. Darashah-trained the Mischevious Music-Cold Front colt.


1.45 pm: Leading Conquest 1. Alto 2. Turf Rythm 3.

2.15 pm: Commitment 1. Czar 2. Fingers Crossed 3.

2.45 pm: Whatmore 1. Air Strike 2.

3.15 pm: Tina�s Tune 1. Pharoah 2. Plain Truth 3.

3.45 pm: Star Falcon 1. Any Time Money 2. Sunny Spice 3.

4.15 pm: Screen Play 1. Millennium Flame 2. Travel Around 3.

4.45 pm: The Royals 1. Estocade 2. Winning Glory 3.

5.15 pm: Forest Pegasus 1. Special Crown 2. Royal Castle 3.

Day�s Best: Star Falcon

Double: Commitment & Whatmore


Mysore, Oct. 4: 
Ridden by Sathish Narredu, the Darius Byramji-trained Soviet Song won the F. K. Irani Memorial Gold Cup at the Mysore held on Thursday


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Periyapattana Plate 1,600m: (3-2-1) Artic Minstrel (Prakash) 1; Crystal Delight 2; Spanish Armada 3. Won by: 3/4; 2; (1-41.6). Tote: Win Rs 19; Place: 11; 12; 29; Quinella: 19; Tanala: 148. Fav: Artic Minstrel (3).

2. Rock Haven Plate 1,400m: (4-8-1) Saujas (Rajesh) 1; Bold Commander 2; Fereneze 3. Not run: Great Aswaraaj (5). Won by: 3-3/4; 2-1/2; (1-26.4). Tote: Win Rs 17; Place: 10; 19; 25; Quinella: 58; Tanala: 221. Fav: Saujas (4).

3. Delhi Plate 1,200m; (11-6-1) Different Ballgame (Marshall) 1; Bountiful Star 2; Submarina 3. Won by: Dist; 3/4; (1-13). Tote: Win Rs 34; Place: 15; 13; 75; Quinella: 33; Tanala: 887.Fav: Bountiful Star (6).

4. Gayatri Devi Memorial Gold Cup 1,200m: (5-7-3) Scenic Bay (Prakash) 1; Shathabisha 2; Chity Bang 3. Won by: SH; 1-1/2; (1-11.8). Tote: Win Rs 35; Place: 16; 15; 21; Quinella: 41; Tanala: 257. Fav: Shathabisha (7).

5. F. K. Irani Memorial Gold Cup 1,200m: (4-2-5) Soviet Song (S. Nar-redu) 1; Yewall 2; Alylady 3. Won by: 3/4; 3/4; (1-11.5). Tote: Win Rs 27; Place: 13; 23; Quinella: 61; Tanala: 701. Fav: Symphony of Fire (1).

6. Huntsey Gold Trophy 2,000m: (1-7-4) Tapatio (Rajesh) 1; Abroach 2; Supreme Heights 3. Won by: 1/2; Nk; (2-9). Tote: Win Rs 16; Place: 11; 24; 14; Quinella: 108; Tanala: 304. Fav: Tapatio (1).

7. Chamarajanagar Plate 2,000m: (8-10-2) Royal Philosopher (Abraham) 1; Power Extreme 2; Win Ameen 3. Won by: 1/2; 5-1/4; (2-13.3). Tote: Win Rs 172; Place: 47; 15; 20; Quinella: 388; Tanala: 3,066. Fav: Win Ameen (2).

Jackpot: Rs 9,445; (C) Rs 148.

Treble: (i) Rs 165; (ii) Rs 686.


Calcutta, Oct. 4: 
The following is the pick of track work noted today:

Monsoon track

1,200m: Allaying (Rabani) and Charlene (Islam) in 1-31s; (400m) 26s. They were level. Aiberni (C. Alford) and Lockers Park (Islam) in 1-25s; (400m) 26s. They were level. Actuate (C. Alford) in 1-31s; (400m) 27s. Ascoril (Amil) in 1-31s; (400m) 27s.

800m: Countach (Rb) in 56s; (400m) 26s. Fit. Don Vittorio (Shanker) in 54s; (400m) 25s. Moved nicely.

Sand track

1,200m: Flinders (Som S.) in 1-28s; (400m) 30s.

800m: Calabash (Gaje-nder) in 56s; (400m) 27s. Constantine (Amjad) in 55s; (400m) 27s. Starina (P. Alford) in 58s; (400m) 27s. Jayaashva (Rb) in 57s; (400m) 26s.

600m: Bul Bul (Engineer) in 47s; (400m) 30s.

400m: Satately Don (Yasin) in 26s.


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