East Bengal shown Durand exit door by JCT

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/F/Football.jpg' class='caption'> East Bengal has been eliminated from Durand Cup football tournament after going down 1-2 to JCT Mills, Phagwara.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:49 IST
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New Delhi:

Life for East Bengal in the post-Subhash Bhowmick era got off to a disappointing start when the team was eliminated from Durand Cup football tournament after going down 1-2 to JCT Mills, Phagwara. Renedy Singh's stunning strike from outside the penalty box in the 63rd minute, which the midfielder later termed as "one of the best goals of my career," sealed the misery for the red and gold brigade, which had former player Bikash Panji at the helm. The result completed a miserable tournament for Kolkata clubs as Mohammedan Sporting and Eveready Association had already failed to make it to the last four. Another maidan giant, Mohun Bagan had backed out of the competition after confirming participation citing unavailability of some of its key players due to injury and national duty. The millmen from Phagwara, who were much the superior side for most of the encounter, will now take on Army XI in the semi-final on Thursday. They started on the offensive from the first whistle itself and Sukhjinder Singh shot over the bar barely seconds after play started. East Bengal started to settle down gradually but JCT men were quick in the tackle and getting most of the loose balls. In the 20th minute, the Kolkata outfit's South African striker Sydney B Nkalanga got behind the JCT defence but failed to control the through pass. Three minutes later, their Nigerian import Mike Okoro made a good run in the rival territory but nothing came of it. Parveen strikes For the Phagwara team, Parveen Kumar, who got a hattrick against Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the previous match, was proving to be a thorn in East Bengal's side. He opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when he latched on to a pass from Renedy, who had drawn East Bengal defender Habib-ur-Rahman towards him, controlled the ball before slotting it past custodian Naseem Akhtar. Renedy continued to boss the midfield and passed to Brazilian teammate Marcos Pereira who had got behind the defence. But Akhtar came out to narrow the angle and as a result, Pereira shot wide. The Kolkata outfit brought on R C Prakash, who scored against HAL, in the second half and the team showed more purpose in the match, realising that they needed to win as JCT were better placed on goal difference. Bernard Pires and S Malsawmtluanga had chances to equalise in the 55th minute but failed to capitalise. On the offensive The goal came two minutes later when Chandan Das threw to their man from Congo, Liswa Nouti who chested the ball for Sydney to find the net past JCT keeper Karanjit Singh. The goal rejuvenated the red and gold brigade who went on the offensive and Okoro and Sydney started putting the millmen under some serious pressure. But they had not bargained for the bullet of a strike that came out of Renedy's locker in the 63rd minute. His shot from way out of the penalty box swerved in the air and totally deceived Naseem Akhtar, finding the top right hand corner of the net. East Bengal then came under serious scrutiny as Renedy got a loose ball in their half but the shot was saved by the goalkeeper. (PTI)

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