The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bagan may find going tough

Mumbai: Mohun Bagan will have their task cut out when they take on Mahindra United in the National Football League match at The Cooperage Tuesday.

The Calcutta team hasn’t yet recovered from the draw against JCT, when they let go 3-1 advantage at the Salt Lake Stadium. However, Mahindra United, too, are not in the best of form. They lost two matches in-a-row to Tollygunge Agragami and East Bengal when they were in Calcutta.

Bagan will be looking at the star duo of Bhaichung Bhutia and Jose Ramirez Barreto to deliver. But their chances will be lent a blow if their Liberian star George Ekeh fails to take the field.

He was stretchered off the field after the match against JCT, where he scored a hattrick.

But the biggest worry for the Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya is the defence.

It’s ‘fragile’ right from the beginning of the season, and the foreign recruit Isa Musah Eroje has failed to give them the necessary solidity. “May be it’s taking some time to come into shape,” was the coach’s reaction when queried about the defence. On the other hand, Mahindra United have a few players who have known the Bagan team for quite a few seasons. The three midfielders, Debjit Ghosh, R.P. Singh and James Singh and forward R.C. Prakash were integral part of the team that won the National League last season. “It’ll be an emotional affair no doubt, but there’ll be no love lost,” Debjit said.

TEAMS (likely)

Mohun Bagan: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar; Satish Bharti, Isa Musah Eroje, Palash Karmakar, Dulal Biswas, Jayanta Sen, Basudeb Mondal, Rennedy Singh, Jose Barreto; Bhaichung Bhutia, George Ekeh (Sunil Chetri).

Mahindra United: Feroz Sheriff; Surkumar Singh, Odiaftey Lawson, Debjit Ghosh, Anthony Perreira; Naushad Pari, Khalid Siddique, R.P. Singh, S. Peter; Abhishek Yadav, R.C. Prakash.

Salgaocar beat ITI 2-0

Former champions Salgaocar defeated Indian Telephone Industries (ITI) 2-0 in a National Football league match Monday, adds a report from Margao.

Dud Omagbemi and Alex Ambrose scored in the 27th and 64th minutes respectively. Salgaocar now have seven points while ITI have one.

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