On-off genius made all the difference
In The City
Mysore Racing/ King�s Star triumphs

June 26: 
There were doubts over a final featuring two established teams and it took a touch of the indomitable genius to ensure a high profile last show. Ronaldo was struggling to run, turn and jump. He was visibly uncomfortable and wandering around most of the time. But all that inertia turned into a volatile force for a flash, and that was that. Everything else about the Brazil-Turkey semi-final was earthly in comparison.

It was expected to be a close contest and Brazil ensured it was one. They spurned numerous chances to kill the match well before the final whistle and it took another spell of dogged defending from them to see off the Turks. The start was following the script. Turkey tried to push forward and won most of the early exchanges. They were fast to snatch and moved in unison, trying to outnumber Brazil at the centre.

Turkey were trying to make most of the space left vacant by the overlapping Roberto Carlos and tried to press home the advantage by moving two men up the right wing. Brazil were quick to detect and sort out this problem. Initially, there wasn�t much resistance in their midfield, which allowed Turkey a few free runs through the centre, but deeper down, Brazil defended well.

The game opened up mainly because of the enterprise shown by Cafu. The Brazil skipper took the game to the Turks with his trademark runs down the right and was quick to fall back during the Turkish forays. He was trying to jerk his teammates out of the early sluggishness and went on to play a pivotal role when Turkey were all out for the equaliser. After the early stupor, Brazil enjoyed the upperhand in the first half. There wasn�t much in terms of variety in their moves to surprise Turkey, but the runs were purposeful and they reached the striking zone with alarming regularity. The constant probing forced a tactical shift in the Turkish plan. They had to increase men inside their defensive third to combat the yellow wave. This meant at least two of their medios couldn�t participate in the counterattacks and reduced pressure on the Brazilian defence. A delayed cross from Hasan Sas towards the end of the first half went unused because there was no one to follow.

In spite of Turkey showing good defensive organisation and intercepting with great anticipation, Brazil got their chances. They lacked precision in finishing and even Rivaldo�s trusted left foot let him down on two occasions. His striking partner was looking completely lost and had done little of note in the first half.

However, the sudden burst of energy soon after the break showed what Ronaldo is all about. He had four defenders for company when he got the ball in the space between the left touchline and penalty box. Everybody expected him to release and run in, but Ronaldo saw the goalkeeper had positioned himself towards the near post and wriggled out of the defensive circle to toe the ball towards the far corner.

What prompted him to go for goal from that seemingly impossible angle can�t be defined. It is inherent and can�t be acquired.

In spite of withdrawing into his shell after this, Ronaldo set up two chances to fish out the insurance goal, but Edilson and Kleberson erred to make way for a close finish.

Frankly speaking, it was surprising to see Brazil defend so well. They formed a V in front of the box that expanded towards the centre of the pitch and drew all Turkish raids towards the crowded narrow end. Turkey attacked with great speed but found it impossible to stretch the wings.

The only concern for Luiz Felipe Scolari now should be the tendency of his team to defend from the edge of the box. They have done well to survive twice, but must push the defensive screen forward to pass the final test.


June 26: 

Super Division postponed

The start of the CFL Super Division has been deferred by seven days. According to the proposed revised fixtures, Mohun Bagan kick off versus Bhratri Sangha on July 20 and East Bengal begin against Eastern Railway on July 21. Mohammedan Sporting will launch their campaign on July 12, against FCI.

Rennedy signs for Bagan

Rennedy Singh signed for Mohun Bagan Wednesday. The two others who also decided to renew their association with the club were Dulal Biswas and Lolendra Singh.

Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan�s participation in the Bangladesh tournament is under a cloud. The AIFF wants to be convinced that it�s an AFC-backed meet before giving permission to Mohun Bagan to play in Dhaka.


SOCCER: Calcutta League, first division group B: Matches from 4 pm.    

Mysore, June 26: 
Trained by D. Khanna, King�s Star won the Nagamangala Plate in Mysore on Wednesday.


(With inter-state dividends)

1. Sondur Plate 1,200m: (1-3-5) Tequila Ride (R. Marshall) 1; Niveditha 2; Atlantic Star 3. Not run: Omni Presence (10). Won by: 3/4; 2-3/4; (1-16.9). Tote: Win Rs 28; Place: 14; 23; 29; Quinella: 154; Shp: 96; Tanala: 1,490. Fav: Tequila Ride (1).

2. Kushalnagar Plate 1,100m: (4-8-5) Gracious Rohit (R. Marshall) 1; Empress of India 2; Go-od Win 3. Won by: Nk; SH; (1-10.1). Tote: Win Rs 61; Place: 19; 15; 16; Quinella: 96; Shp: 43; Tanala: 547. Fav: Good Win (5).

3. Nagamangala Plate 1,200m: (2-3-6) King�s Star (Shakti S.) 1; Chity Bang 2; Chuck Berry 3. Won by: 1-1/4; 2-3/4; (1-16). Tote: Win Rs 14; Place: 11; 37; Quinella: 70; Shp: 72; Tanala: 568. Fav: King�s Star (2).

4. F. B. Sharma Memorial Gold Cup 1,600m: (8-9-2) Make No Mistake (Harish) 1; Silver Touch 2; Waves of Emotion 3. Won by: 2-3/4; 1/2; (1-46.4). Tote: Win Rs 157; Place: 39; 15; 17; Quinella: 239; Shp: 61; Tanala: 2,617. Fav: Goebbels (3).

5. Kolar Plate 1,400m: (2-9-1) Renzino (Storai) 1; Asian 2; Grey Bull 3. Won by: 3; Nk; (1-29 .8). Tote: Win Rs 40; Place: 19; 20; 42; Quinella: 124; Shp: 51; Tan-ala: 2,362. Fav: Renzino (2).

6. Prince Regent Plate 1,400m: (1-4-7) Righteous (Sharat K.) 1; Plain Truth 2; Emmenbrucke 3. Won by: 5-1/2; SH; (1-30.3). Tote: Win Rs 118; Place: 33; 21; 17; Quinella: 747; Shp: 95; Tanala: 12,928. Fav: Aethion (6).

Jackpot: Rs 34,300 (Carried over); (C) Rs 4,410.

Treble: (i) Rs 191; (ii) Rs 7,617.

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