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Fransa shock East Bengal

April 12, 2005 19:30 IST
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Fransa Pax rode on a late strike by Peter Rodrigues to upset defending champions East Bengal 1-0 in a ninth National Football League match in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Rodrigues scored the winner from a Hardeep Saini pass in the 87th minute at the Salt Lake stadium.

East Bengal, yet to recover from the 0-5 drubbing against Jordan club Al Faysali in the AFC Cup, fired on all cylinders, but their strikers let them down badly.

The loss in the home match may cost East Bengal dearly as the Kolkata outfit is now within the reach of Goan clubs Dempo and Sporting Clube.

East Bengal have 33 points and are placed behind Dempo, who top the table with 34 points.

Sporting are placed third with 32 points after the 16th round.

Fransa, on the other hand, improved their standing, taking their tally to 25 points from 16 outings.

Fransa medio Saini played a stellar role and also paved the way for the winning goal, though it came against the run of the play.

Later adjudged man of the match, Saini initiated a quick counter-attack, running down the middle, and fed Nigerian striker Joseph Ogor, who sent the ball inside the rival box for an unmarked Rodrigues.

The midfielder made no mistake in slotting home past East Bengal custodian Rajat Ghosh Dastidar.

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