Bagan strong favourites in AFC Champions league

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Updated: February 25, 2007 09:28 IST
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On a high after successive victories at home and abroad, city giants Mohun Bagan look strong favourites as they host Sri Lankan outfit Sanders Football club in the opening round second leg tie of the AFC Champions League here tomorrow. Having won the first leg at Colombo 2-0, Bagan would be hoping to exploit home advantage to put it across their opponents yet again at the Salt Lake Stadium and book a berth for the second round against Valencia of Maldives. The local side, which seemed off colour in the early stages of the Kolkata Super Division league, has of late sent out unmistakable signals of coming into their own by getting past arch rivals East Bengal 1-0 in their previous match to remain in title contention. Bagan coach Subrata Bhattacharya would be hoping that his side's new found resurgence continues tomorrow. As in the Colombo match, Bagan would field a full strength side with AIFF releasing the four club players -- striker Baichung Bhutia, shot stopper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar, defender Satish Bharti and medio Renedy Singh -- from the pre-Asian Games camp. It would be a dream come true for umpteen Bagan fans who would see their hero Bhutia in the green and maroon jersey for the first time on home soil, that too with Brazilian Barreto. Bhattacharya has announced that his team would play in the 4-4-2 format, fielding George Ekeh as attacking mid-fielder to reinforce the Bhutia-Barreto strike force. On the other hand, Sanders, needing to win by a three goal margin to progress further in the league, would be without reliable midfielder Jagatrohan, who is out of the trip due to injury. (PTI)

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