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 March 26, 2002 | 1900 IST

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Barreto starts in
Mohun Bagan's victory

Brazilian striker Jose Barreto lived upto the expectations of his team mates and netted two goals as Mohun Bagan beat bottom placed Punjab Police 3-1 in an 18th round match in the Tata National Football League, at the Guru Gobind Singh stadium in Jalandhar, on Tuesday.

Despite the loss, Punjab Police, known for their exploits on the hockey field, deserve a pat on the back, as they put up a brilliant fight against one of the top contenders for the league title this season.

With this victory Bagan took their points tally to 35 from 18 matches, and are on par with Zee Churchill Brothers, who have, however, played a match less.

The other goal scorer for Bagan was Serriki Abdullatif, the tall Nigerian striker, who also had a hand in the two goals scored by Barreto.

For the Punjab policemen, striker Praveen Kumar scored the lone goal.

Mohun Bagan, desperately needing a win to stay in the race for the title, were well aware that today's match was their golden chance to score goals and pick full points against a side that was exposed to professional soccer only this season. In the 18th minute, Seriki intiated a move from the left flank and Basudev Mondal, collecting a pass outside the penalty box, pushed the ball forward and Barreto was perfectly positioned to connect the ball past on-rushing cops custodian Satish Kumar.

However, two minutes later, the cops struck back. Their star striker Praveen Kumar deceived Bagan custodian Rajat Ghosh as well as the defenders, when instead of passing the ball to his strikers up front, he took a direct shot which sailed over the defenders as well as the out-stretched hands of Ghosh and into the net.

Stung by this reverse, Bagan went into the attack and pile solid pressure on the cops citadel. In the 28th minute, it was Barreto who went past two defenders and moving away to the right flank lobbed the ball into the penalty area, where Seriki, with only the goalkeeper in front, scored to put his side 2-1 up.

After the breather, Bagan were again on the attack and in the 59th minute Seriki moved down the left flank and centered the ball into the penalty box, where Barreto trapped despatched and low shot which beat keeper Satish Kumar.

Satish Kumar brought off the save of the match when in the closing stages he flung himself to his right to stop a sizziling grounder from Rishi Kapoor.

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