Injury-ridden East Bengal to clash with Dempo tomorrow

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Margao, Dec 8 (UNI) Buoyed by fine performance on home outings, reigning champions Dempo are looking for a win against Kolkata's injury-plagued East Bengal in their fourth round tie of the ONGC I-league to be played at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, here tomorrow.

The mood in the Dempo camp is upbeat as they have won all the three home matches -- against Salgaocar, Sporting Club de Goa and Churchill Brothers. Dempo is topping the table with 9 points, while East Bengal presently have 6 points from two wins against Viva Kerala and Salgaocar, and a loss against JCT.

The well-knit Dempo squad looks formidable in all departments with quality players on the bench also. Their three foreign players -- Nigerians Renty Martin and Edeh Chidi, and Brazilian medio Roberto Mendes de Silva (Beto) combine well and are a potent strike force. All the three have scored two goals each so far.

Dempo coach Arman Colaco is happy with his team's performance and hopes the boys will maintain the tempo in all the remaining matches. He is, however, concerned since defender Sameer Naik and Chidi are nursing injuries.

East Bengal coach Subrata Bhattacharya, on the other hand, is worried about his defence line up, as key defenders M Suresh and Surkumar Singh are nursing injuries. Dependable forward Ashim Biswas is also a doubtful starter because of injuries.

He said Dempo is a good side and there will be pressure on both the sides tomorrow. ''Playing against Dempo in their own backyard will be a tough assignment, but we will play to our strength and try and collect as many points as possible from the Goa leg,'' he said.

East Bengal, too, looks menacing on paper. Their attack and midfield are well balanced, but the defence is suspect. East Bengal's attack is spear-headed by Brazilian Edmilson Margues who has scored 4 goals from three matches. Helping him will be Ashim Biswas and Alvito D Cunha both of whom have scored one goal each.

East Bengal could bring in Suryabikas Chakraborty and Khaoibong to man the defence, while Snehasish Chakravarthy might take replace injury-ridden Ashim Biswas in tomorrow's crucial tie.

Though both East Bengal and Dempo have six goals in their names, Dempo has not conceded a single goal in the last three outings, while East Bengal has conceded three goals.


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