Bagan and Sporting in close race for top slot

August 3rd, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 3 (IANS) Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting played a snake-and-ladder game for the top spot while East Bengal improved their position as the Indian Football Association (IFA)-Sahara Calcutta Football League moved into its fourth week. There was high drama as title holders Mohun Bagan lost to Sporting to surrender the leaders’ tag Monday, but Calcutta Port Trust brought cheers back into the green and maroon camp by holding Sporting to a 1-1 draw Thursday.

Bagan and Sporting now have the same points - 3 from half-a-dozen matches - but the former top the table, thanks to a better goal difference.

East Bengal, languishing at the fifth place after the third week, have shot up to third, with two points separating them from the leaders.

Geroge Telegraph, despite dropping one rung to the fourth position, showed their bag of surprises was still not empty. Playing against the defending champions, George fought back valiantly from a 0-2 deficit to level 2-2, but Peter Odafe scored in the last minute to ensure full points for Bagan with a 3-2 result.

Earlier, Sporting began the week in style, with a 2-1 victory over Bagan at the well-attended Salt Lake stadium.

The two rivals were locked 1-1 till the penultimate minute when an own goal from Mohan Raj botched up Bagan’s day.

The other city giants East Bengal seemed to be coming into their elements, as they won both their matches over Chirag United (1-0) and Peerless AC (3-1). The red and gold brigade were well served by seasoned striker Ashim Biswas, who followed up his sole strike against Chirag with a brace versus Peerless.

The first half of the double leg format is now almost over, with each team having one match left before moving on to the return fixtures.

But all eyes are now focused on Tuesday’s derby clash between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan - a match which arouses passion over entire West Bengal.

While those who migrated during the partition of the country from what is now Bangladesh favour East Bengal, the original inhabitants of the present state of West Bengal root for Bagan. Come Tuesday, all roads will lead to Salt Lake with the IFA hoping to see their cash registers ringing.

Following is the league table:

Mohun Bagan AC 06 04 01 01 13-05 + 8 13
Mohammedan Sporting Club 06 04 01 01 11-07 + 4 13
East Bengal Club 06 03 02 01 09-06 + 3 11
George Telegraph SC 06 02 03 01 07-05 + 2 09
Calcutta Port Trust SC 06 01 04 01 02-03 - 1 07
Chirag United Sports Club 06 01 02 03 04-05 - 1 05
Railway FC 06 00 04 02 02-07 - 5 04
Peerless Sports Club 06 06 00 01 05 01-11 -10 01

(P- played, W-won, D-drawn, GF-goals for, GA-goals against, GDIF -goal difference, PTS-points)

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