East Bengal in spot after losing to JCT, Dempo lead up
With just seven rounds to go, Dempo have extended their points tally to 27 points with JCT five points behind them in second place.Updated: Jan 15, 2008 21:15 IST
Former champions East Bengal's terrible run in the I-League continued while second placed JCT, Phagwara closed the gap at the top with leaders Dempo Sports Club after the 11th round of the league.
With just seven rounds to go, Dempo have extended their points tally to 27 points with JCT five points behind them in second place as both the teams won the latest round of matches quite convincingly. Dempo beat city rivals Sporting Clube de Goa 4-1 and JCT scored a 3-0 win victory over East Bengal in Ludhiana.
It was East Bengal's seventh loss in 11 matches and there was some drama after Monday's loss. Coach Subrata Bhattacharya, whose relationship with the players strained, offered to resign. Surprisingly the players rejected his resignation and urged him to stay on.
Bhattacharya, however, might find it difficult to gain sympathy, if his team fails to win the Kolkata derby against Mohun Bagan Sunday. East Bengal had lost their earlier encounter and if they lose again, Bhattacharya's stint with the red and gold brigade may come to an end.
For the record, East Bengal are at the ninth spot in the 10-team league with just eight points while Mohun Bagan after a disastrous start have consolidated their position and are now placed fourth with 17 points. A win against archrivals East Bengal in the next round can catapult Mohun Bagan into the top-three of the I-League in the highly unlikely event of third-placed Churchill Brothers losing to last-placed Salgaocar.
Churchill have been going pretty strong on the shoulders of their African import Odafe Onyeka Okolie, who leads the scoring chart with 16 goals. The way the Churchill are surging ahead, after their 4-2 win over Mahindra United, Salgaocar should be an easy prey for them in the next round.
Dempo is also expected to extend their lead as they will face Mahindra in the next round, but if the match ends in a draw, JCT stand to benefit as a victory for the Millmen against Viva Kerala will reduce the gap to three points.