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 November 21, 2002 | 1900 IST

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Churchill, Bagan looking
for first win

Buoyant after a fine performance against star-studded Salgaocar in their opening match, NFL runners-up Churchill Brothers go into another crucial match, this time against defending champions Mohun Bagan of Kolkata, in the seventh edition of the National Football League, at the Nehru stadium, in Goa, on Friday.

The Goa side will be looking to their strikers, Ghanian Yakubu Yusif and Manipuri Tikken Singh, who both performed well in the last match against Salgaocar, as also Kasif Jamal, to deliver the goods.

They have enterprising midfielders in Noel Wilson, Zaheer Abbas Hamza, Kanta Singh and Rocky Barretto, and also a strong defence, marshalled by Osumani Hussain, Mahesh Gawali, Rajesh Meetei and Francis Coelho and, above all, goalkeeper Edward Ansah, who has performed excellently in recent outings. In fact, all depends on how the midfield functions. If they can dictate terms, then Bagan will sure have a tough time.

Bagan, who looked disjointed in their opening match against Vasco and luckily escaped with a 1-1 draw, are likely to field their star strikers -- Jose Barretto and Baichung Bhutia -- despite both nursing injuries. They desperately need the services of the duo to trouble strong defences.

The defending champions too boast of a very good midfield, comprising Jayant Sen, Basudeb Mondal, George Ekeh and Ranedy Singh. But their fortunes rest as much on their defence as on their strikers.

As both teams have a point each after drawing their opening matches, they will go all out to pick full point and climb the league table. Certainly, a close contest is on the cards.

Complete Coverage: 7th National Football League 2002-03