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Salgaocar beat E Bengal, finish second

April 28, 2003 20:08 IST

Champions East Bengal failed to apply finishing touches to their supremacy as Salgaocar scored a goal in each half to beat them 2-0 and snatch the second place in the National Football League, which concluded on Monday.

Needing victory in the last match, at the Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa, on Monday, Salgaocar dominated the game throughout with short crisp passes and scored through man of the match Jatin Singh Bist (21st minute) and Sunday Seah (54th).

With this win, Salgaocar, with 44 points from 22 matches, finished second behind East Bengal, who emerged champions with 49 points.

Vasco, who beat Mahindras 2-1, finished third with 43 points and bagged the prize of Rs 1.6 million.

The fairplay award went to JCT.

Churchill Brothers' striker Yusif Yakubu, with 21 goals, emerged the highest scorer for the second consecutive year,  surpassing his last year's tally of 18 goals.

Chief guest P K Sharma, group general manager ONGC, gave away the prizes along with Faizal Kashmiri from Strata Goa and Goa Sports Minister Micky Pacheco.

East Bengal, who received the winner's trophy, became richer by Rs four million, while Salgaocar got Rs two million and the runners-up trophy.

Salgaocar's midfield once again came up with a fine performance. With the Manipuris -- Jatin Bist and Tomba Singh -- at the helm, they controlled the midfield throughout, giving the opposition no chance to dictate terms.

With good support from the rear, where Bello Rasaq overlapped from the flank often, the East Bengal defence was under constant pressure.

Douglas Silva, who had played the vital role in the last match as East Bengal demolished Vasco, was off colour. He often played a physical game and was given marching orders by referee Mongkol Rungklay of Thailand after he received second booking for triping Tomba Singh 15 minutes before the final whistle.

After a Tomba Singh try hit the side netting, Salgaocar took the lead in the 21st minute, when Jitin Singh Bist tapped home Dharamjit Singh's floater from the right, following a flag-kick, which beat the entire rival defence.

East Bengal were not allowed any liberty to operate by the rival defence but came close in finding the equalsier midway into the first half. However, Dipankar Roy's shot, from inside the box, was saved by keeper Chubey, off Mike Okoro's cross.

Enjoying midfield supermacy, Salgaocar could have increased the lead minutes before the interval but keeper Satish Kumar made a good save off a Jatin Bist shot after he was fed by Climax Lawerence.

After the change of ends, Salgaocar continued their dominance and increased the lead when Sunday Seah, who was closely marked by Suley Musah, got the better of his marker and essayed a firm right footer from the top of the box which deflected defender Suresh and caught keeper Kumar on the wrong foot.


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