East Bengal, Salgaocar to clash for salvaging pride

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Margao, Jan 7 (UNI) Struggling to avoid relegation, former champions East Bengal and Salgaocar Sports Club will fight it out for a win in the first match of the second leg of the ONGC I-League champions to be played at the Nehru Stadium Fatorda here tomorrow.

Salgaocar coach Savio Mederia hoped that though his team had a poor start with not a single win in the first leg, the new year 2008 will be bright and they would start the second leg with a win against East Bengal.

The boys are playing well, but lack the sting, he said adding that the match against East Bengal will be a revenge tie for his team as they had lost to East Bengal 2-3 in the away match.

He said defender Hery Habinama, who was booked with two yellow cards, will not play tomorrow and Boniface Ambani will also be a doubtful starter as he is nursing an injury.

Both the teams had been inconsistent in their performance till the end of the 9th round of the first leg, and both are precariously placed.

But, East Bengal holds a psychological edge over Salgaocar, having beaten them 3-2 in the first leg. East Bengal have seven points from two wins, a draw and six defeats.

On the other hand, bottom-placed Salgaocar had not registered a single win in the first leg. They have only four points from four draws and five losses.

East Bengal, which has not lived upto their awesome reputation in the championship so far, has to bounce back to stay in the contention. They boast of big names like Edmilson Marques who has seven goals to his credit. Ashim Biswas, Alvito D'Cunha, and D Mukashi are the other players on whom East Bengal will depend heavily to deliver the goods.

Salgaocar desperately needs an outright win to increase their points tally and will rely on Felix Chimawkou who has five goals in his name, Milagris Gonsalves, Nicholas Rodrigues, Joe Rodrigues and Malswama.

As both the teams will have to battle it out for full points, tomorrow's match promises to be an interesting one.

UNI SRN MAZ RAR RS1502

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