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Fransa outsmart Bagan

Source: PTI
February 05, 2005 18:43 IST
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Fransa Pax of Goa showed fine opportunism to prevail over three-time champions Mohun Bagan 2-1 in a ninth National Football League outingĀ at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Saturday.

Jules Alberto Dias put the visitors ahead with a fine long ranger in the first half, before Brazilian striker Roberto Mendez de Silva restored parity in the later session with a neat header.

But the Goans clinched the issue soon after as Sebastiao Endro exploited a Bagan defensive lapse to put the ball home and boost his team's tally to 10 points from six games. Bagan, who have played the same number of matches, remained on seven points.

The Goans shot into the lead in the 18th minute when Jules Alberto Dias found the target with a 30-yard rasping diagonal left footer which gave no chance to Bagan goalkeeper Prashanta Dora.

Down 0-1 at the breather, the local side upped the ante in the second session and Beto equalised in the 70th minute. Veteran Jo Paul Ancheri, who came in as a substitute for Sunil Chhetri, set up Basudev Mondal who centered inside the box, and Beto finished off with a header.

But the relief on the face of the Bagan officials proved shortlived. Seven minutes later, defender Noel Wilson, who otherwise had a good day, failed to effect a clearance, and Endro seized the opportunity, latched on to the ball, got past Bagan goalkeeperĀ Dora, and shot home.

Bagan, who missed two rosy chances in the early minutes with Sunil Chhetri and Beto being the culprits, had the major share of the possession in the opening half with the Goans switching to a defensive mode after the goal, but their attacks lacked cohesion and punch and positive chances were few and far between.

With Wilson dropping down as central defender to fill in for the Brazilian Eduwardo, who had to sit out following a double yellow booking, the Bagan midfield was also found wanting in the creative zone with the players getting enmeshed in poor passing and distribution.

On the other hand, the Goan defence put up an impressive display cutting out the Bagan raids before they could pose danger.

Bagan came close to scoring in the final minutes of the second half, but Beto's header went over. A little later, a Manitombi Singh centre found Asim Biswas, but the latter's header went straight to Fransa custodian Kalyan Choubey.

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