Dempo, East Bengal well placed in AFC Cup

March 25th, 2008 - 5:21 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, March 25 (IANS) Indian clubs Dempo and East Bengal are well placed in their respective groups at the end of the second round in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. Both Dempo and East Bengal are second respectively in Group A and B. The picture is pretty similar for both the clubs so far as they have registered a win and a loss each out of two outings. But with four rounds remaining, the picture is sure to change depending on the performances of both the teams in the coming days.

The win in the last match at home against Yemen’s Ahli Sana’a gave East Bengal, who qualified for the AFC Cup after winning the Federation Cup last year, a much-needed boost after a dismal domestic season which saw the Kolkata side somehow surviving relegation in the inaugural I-League, India’s first professional league.

In the AFC Cup, East Bengal lost their first match to Lebanon’s Safa in an away tie but winning at home against Ahli Sana’a could possibly give them hopes of a bright start in the coming domestic season.

East Bengal management has submitted a proposal to their sponsor United Breweries to build a team worth Rs.70 million. And if it is sanctioned before their third match against third placed Al Wihdat of Lebanon on April 2, the Kolkata team will have a good chance to turn the tide in their favour.

I-League champions Dempo, on the other hand have been successful enough to retain their team for the last three years. They started their AFC Cup campaign with a 3-1 win over Lebanon’s Al Ansar and then lost 3-2 to Oman’s Sur. But despite the loss, Dempo is still a notch above Sur in Group A.

The good news for Dempo is that striking pair of Ranty Martins and Edeh Chidi is finding their rhythm. The African duo has found the net in both the matches and if they keep up the good run, Dempo can hope for a good outing against Bahrain’s Muharraq at home on April 2.

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