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Vasco hold East Bengal

Last updated on: December 04, 2003 20:18 IST

A brilliant performance by goalkeeper Rogerio Ramos enabled Vasco to hold defending champions East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in an eighth National Football League match, at the Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa, on Thursday.

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Vasco's midfield combined well and held more ball possession for the better part of the first-half. They surged ahead in the 37th minute when striker Amaechi Tochukwu's powerful header off Kamal Thapa's flag-kick left East Bengal keeper Nandy rooted to the ground as the ball deflected off the post before finding the net.

East Bengal restored parity a minute latter.

Suley Musah, who often moved up, sent a pass to Baichung Bhutia, who back-heeled the ball to fox the rival defence. Substitute Dipankar Roy, who was standing near the goal, pounced on the loose ball and tapped home to the joy of East Bengal's team, who had a disappointing game against Salgaocar in their first match.

Vasco made the first move in the 22nd minute with Menino relaying a long pass to Amaechi, who squared to John, who shot over from close.

East Bengal then had a good chance when Okoro sent a cross from the right to Douglas, who headed to Bhutia. The last named volleyed the ball but Ramos came up with a fine save, tipping the ball over.

Just before half-time, Ramos again bought off a good save when he dived to block Okoro's shot which came to him via Bhutia off a cross from Debjit Ghosh.

East Bengal had a better share of the exchanges in the second session but found the Vasco defence hard to beat.

Vasco's coach Derrick Pereira was happy with the draw.

"Our strategy was to go all out towards the end and we succeeded in scoring the goal. But lack of concentration in the defence resulted in conceeding the equaliser," he said.

On the other hand, Subhas Bhowmick was disappointed with his strikers, especially Bhutia and Mike Okoro who "failed to cash on the opportunities".

"If they continue to miss such opportunities we will find it difficult to defend the title," he lamented.

"A win would have been a better result considering the chances that came our way," Bhowmick added.

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