History favours Bengal against Goa in Santosh Trophy final

June 13th, 2009 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, June 13 (IANS) Bengal would be seeking to maintain their unbeaten record against Goa in the National Football Championship final when the two teams renew their rivalry for the Santosh Trophy at the Nehru Stadium here Sunday.
The teams played each other six times in the final of this tournament and on each occasion, barring once when they were declared joint winners, Bengal came out on top without conceding a goal.

Incidentally, Bengal inflicted a 5-0 defeat on Goa the last time they met in the final 10 years ago at this very venue. And more significantly, Bengal have not won the Santosh Trophy since then.

Thus, history, if nothing else, favours Bengal who will be keen on winning the trophy for the 30th time while on the other hand Goa would be hoping to overcome their nemesis for their fifth title (fourth outright) triumph.

In the event, Goa would do better to stick to their game plan rather than dwell on the historical statistics.

In the run-up to the final, Bengal have looked decidedly the better-equipped side though short on experience. However, the young team has shown a rare ability to raise their game when it mattered most and that alone should help them to overcome the Goan challenge.

Conversely, the Goans have looked sharper at the finish and undoubtedly Bengal defenders can expect some rough times. The likes of Marcus Mascarenhas and Beevan D’Mello have displayed good form up front while medio Climax Lawerence, whose penalty goal helped Goa beat Tamil Nadu 1-0 in the semis, has been a tower of strength in the midfield.

At the back, skipper and goalkeeper Felix D’Souza along with Mahesh Gawli and Fulganco Cardozo have enjoyed a fine tournament thus far with their interceptions and covering while lending a comforting solidity to the Goan deep defence.

Bengal’s concern has been their rather blunt forwardline and the team’s rather defensive formation that has necessarily made their approach moves rather ponderous and at times indecisive, thus giving time for the rival defenders to regroup.

On occasions though, the Bengal attacks have looked incisive, particularly against the Services in the semi-finals when they struck two telling blows through Gouranga Biswas on counter-attacks. Thus, there can be no room for complacency in the Goan defence.

Overall, the teams appear well matched with Goa having the strength and depth to turn history on its head and overcome Bengal for the first time in the Santosh Trophy final.

Meanwhile, Bengal, shorn of their glamour players, would start off as sentimental favourites, given their football legacy that the present lot will be keen to carry forward.

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