The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bagan, Vasco in crux tie

Calcutta: With hardly anything to play for other than pride, Mohun Bagan will go all out in their National Football League match against Vasco Wednesday.

Both the teams are in running for the runners-up spot, though this kind of a race is not quite to the liking of Mohun Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya. He has been in charge for the last three seasons and his team was in contention for the top spot till the very last on all three occasions.

“Yes, it’s difficult to motivate a team like Mohun Bagan when they are not in the title hunt, but we’ll go all out for a win,” Bhattacharya said on Tuesday.

With a victory on Wednesday, defending champions Bagan will close in on the second-spot, which also means a place in the AFC Champions League qualifiers. “That’s the only motivating factor. But even for that, a victory is mandatory,” the coach added. He informed that Bagan will play with three forwards, Bhaichung Bhutia, George Ekeh and Jose Ramirez Barreto. While Barreto will operate from a little deep, Bhaichung and Ekeh will play as out and out strikers.

Talking about the Vasco team, Bhattacharya said: “They are a cohesive unit. Rui Wanderley Weis is the real threat and I have asked my boys to mark him.” He also added that Sheikh Sanjeeb will replace an injured Sunil Chettri in the first XI.

On the other hand, Vasco coach Derrick Pereira said that nothing short of a victory will please him. “A place in the Champions League is really tempting and the boys are really charged up,” Perreira said.

Perreira, however, felt that Bagan’s defence is the weak-link and his team will try to utilise that.

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