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East Bengal pip Tollygunge 1-0

Source: PTI
April 01, 2005 19:37 IST
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Title holders East Bengal rode on a Bijen Singh strike to beat Tollygunge Agragami 1-0 to maintain their top position in the ninth National Football League in Kolkata on Friday.

After managing to hold their famed opponents goalless till midway into the second half, Tollygunge's ultra defensive strategy crumbled in the 67th minute following East Bengal coach Subhas Bhomick's clever ploy of introducing Bijen and Subhas Chakraborty as replacements.

Bijen struck the all-important goal only a minute after substituting Chandan Das when he fired a powerful volley on the run to finish a measured inswing centre by Chakraborty in the one-sided game at the Salt Lake staidum.

After 15 matches, East Bengal have now bolstered their points tally to 33, while Tollygunge continued to hover in the relegation zone culling only 15 points.

The city giants held complete sway for most part of the 90-minute tie, but their forwards repeatedly came a cropper near the rival penetrative zone, as Tollygunge coach Biswajit Das employed a packed defence to crowd out the East Bengal upfronters.

However, East Bengal reaped the fruits of a sustained assault on the opponent citadel as the Tollygunge rearguard led by the Nigerian Isiaka finally caved in.

East Bengal switched into the attack mode early into the match, and in the fifth minute a Chandan Das power-packed shot blew over.

Tollygunge had another close shave eight minutes later, as Jeremiah played wall with Climax Lawrence, before essaying a fine drop volley which missed the target.

The Nigerian Jeremiah made another spectacular effort a little after the half-hour mark, as he let loose a powerful 35 yarder that sailed over.

Soon after the breather, East Bengal got a good chance with Bhaichung Bhutia brilliantly chest trapping the ball down for Climax Lawrence, but the latter's shot went over.

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