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 March 18, 2002 | 1940 IST

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East Bengal beat Vasco,
avenge first leg loss

After dominating the first half, East Bengal warded off a strong second half challenge to get the better of Vasco by a solitary goal in a Tata National Football League match in Margao, Goa, on Monday.

After a barren first half, the defending champions from Kolkata scored the all-important goal in the 49th minute through Brazilian striker Jose Carlos Da Silva, who, after receiving a pass from Isiaka Aowemy, outwitted two rival defenders, ran into the box and unleashed an angular drive that found the far post, beating Vasco custodian Rogerio Ramos.

East Bengal, who dominated the first half, could have won by a bigger margin had it not been for fine anticipation by the Vasco keeper, who brought off at least four excellent saves.

Defender Jose Luciano also came to his side's rescue when he made a goalline save off a substitute Bijen Singh lob from the right.

Vasco, who had won the first leg meeting 1-0 in Kolkata, came near to scoring twice, but Abhay Kumar's first try was collected by the rival keeper Sudip Sarkar, who was not tested much in the first half, and, later, Kumar's cross went abbeging.

Vasco, who suffered their fourth defeat, are still perched at the top with 31 points from 17 matches.

East Bengal have 23 points from 16 matches.

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