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Home > Sports > Football > NFL 2002-03 > Report

E Bengal need a draw to clinch NFL

April 24, 2003 17:19 IST

The seventh National Football League reaches its climax as leaders East Bengal take on sole challengers Vasco Sports club, Goa, in a crucial encounter which may well end up deciding the champions in Kolkata on Friday.

East Bengal, on 46 points from 20 outings, need only a point from their two remaining matches to win the league for the second time. Thus, even a draw on the morrow should suffice to usher in celebration time for supporters of the red and gold brigade.

Vasco, on the other hand, have culled 40 points from the same number of matches as East Bengal, but have a better goal difference than the Kolkata side.

The Goans, who need to win both their remaining encounters to stay in contention, not only have to beat East Bengal, but also hope that the league leaders lose their last match against another Goan side, Salgaocar.

Vasco coach Dereck Pereira is confident of his team doing well. He says his charges are geared up for the d-day.

"We will go all out and hope to win both our remaining two matches. My boys are all charged up and eager to give their best," Pereira said.

He said none of his players carry any injury or card problems.

With two thumping wins in their previous two games against Hindustan Aeronautics (8-0) and Indian Telephone Industries (5-0) under their belt, Vasco are on song, and have the strength to stretch East Bengal to the hilt.

East Bengal coach Subhas Bhowmick is pinning his hopes on Nigerian striker Mike Okoro to deliver the goods upfront, while defence mainstay Douglas Silva may well have his hands full, considering the firepower of the Goan forwardline.

Spearheaded by the Brazilian duo of Ruy Wanderlei Weis and Marcos Pereira, the Goans have the ability to break through any defence on their day, and the famed East Bengal defence, including the ever dependable Dipak Mandal, will need to be on their guard throughout the match.

While Pereira has already scored 16 goals, Weis scored a fine hat-trick against ITI.

The Indian Football Association, who is staging the match, is hoping for a large, if not a full, gathering at the 1.25 lakh capacity Salt Lake stadium.


Complete Coverage: 7th National Football League 2002-03 | 2nd Division

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