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Glimpses of class amid lot of chaos

sports Updated: Dec 09, 2012 01:18 IST
HT Correspondent

The match started an hour and 17 minutes behind schedule but the stars weren't being fashionably late. Apparently, money hadn't been credited to their accounts.

State sports minister Madan Mitra didn't blame the Brazilians but on a delay in electronic money transfer.

Jose Rene Higuita, the other marquee attraction, appeared even later. Mitra attributed that to illness, possibly food poisoning.

Just when the 25,000-odd had thought the afternoon would be a waste of time, the local footballers and Leander Paes emerged in black track suits and warmed up as did the match officials.

Everyone, it seemed, was finally ready except the South Americans who were staying at a hotel inside the Salt Lake stadium complex. From when will they come, the question that started being asked was whether they would at all?

They did, around 3.17pm and Bebeto gave Gautam Sarkar a hug. Dunga too waved to the crowd and finally we had a game with the Brazilians in their trademark canary yellow.

A past masters' contest is usually a losing battle between a willing spirit and an uncooperative body.

Credit to the Brazil Masters and the IFA Masters therefore for providing vignettes of what they could do in their pomp during the 70-minute match.

The best was reserved for the last. Higuita replaced Hemanta Dora in the 44th minute, shook hands with the Brazilian World Cup winners and took charge of the IFA Masters goal.

In the 61st minute, Zinho rifled a long-ranger and the Colombian goalminder showed age hasn't withered any of his eccentricity by flinging himself in front and arching his feet to clear the shot. Juninho applauded what the world calls a scorpion shot.