Preview : Maharashtra vs Bengal in the 3rd day of 72nd Santosh Trophy
Wednesday holds an exciting battle on the card as the in-form 32time defending champion West Bengal takes on a strong Maharashtra side. While Bengal is fresh; coming after a comfortable 3-0 victory over a weakened Manipur side, Maharashtra has had quite a record in the West zone qualifiers but yet to play a match in this final stage of 72nd Santosh Trophy.
Heart of the matter !
Maharashtra had pumped in 15 goals in their qualifiers with an average of 5 goals per game with their ever-dependant striker Ranjeet Singh and Aaron D’Costa deemed to hold the key for his side. They blanked Lakshadweep 5-0 before going on to humiliate Daman & Diu by 7 goal to nil, while against Andhra Pradesh they had registered a sublime 2-0 victory to finish the qualifiers on cloud nine. Experienced custodian Owais Khan is rumored to don the captain’s armband. Having not a single team from Maharashtra playing in I-League after the Mumbai FC fiasco was infact a blessing in disguise for the westerners as they won’t be lamenting about the usual absence of quality players unlike several other teams. Pitted in a group of Death along with the likes of West Bengal,Manipur, Kerala and Chandigarh, Maharashtra will be desperate to bring full 3 points to avoid permutation-combination in the later stage. The 20-member Maharashtra team was selected after the 40 probables went through a strenuous camp under the supervision of Head Coach Augusto D’Silva, an AFC ‘A’ License holder. D’Silva, is being accompanied by Mathew Susainathan, Assistant Coach, Sudhakar Rane, Manager and Physiotherapist Kunal Bargal.
Bengal on the other hand will be confident after a satisfying show against Manipur as they are upbeat about defending the title. Jiten Murmu who was one of the last few additions into the team will be leading his side just like Monday but would surely like to perform few notches higher than what he had against Manipur. Much will depend upon how Jiten, Sumit Das and Bidyasagar Singh capitalise in the final third against a formidable Maharashtra side. Bengal will be dying to secure a place in semi final by picking up two consecutive victories as they would like to keep the momentum going.
Goalkeepers – Owais Khan (Nagpur), Harshad Meher (Mumbai);
Defenders – Dion Menezes, Shubham Khanvilkar, Nikhil Prabhu, Samson Joseph (all Mumbai), Afzaal Akhtar (Nagpur)
Midfielders – Ashrafali Makandar, Himanshu Patil, Linekar Machado, Mervin Stephen, Advait Shinde (all Mumbai), Kiran Pandhare (Solapur), Mohammed N.R. Ansari, Vasu Kanojiya (both Nagpur), Asifullah Khan (Yavatmal), Sahil Bhokare (Pune);
Forwards – Aniket Joshi (Nagpur), Ranjeet Singh, Aaron D’Costa (both Mumbai).
Bengal Squad :
Goalkeepers: Ranojit Majumdar, Laltu Mondal, Sandip Paul
Defenders: Tanmoy Ghosh, Ankit Mukherjee, Krishna Biswas, Manotosh Chakladar, Prosenjit Paul, Sourav Dasgupta Nabi Hossain Khan
Midfielders: Bidyasagar Singh, Sumit Das, Sujoy Dutta, Tirthankar Sarkar, Babun Das, Sanchayan Samaddar, Jagannath Oraon
Forwards: Rajon Barman, Jiten Murmu (captain), Sandip Bhttacharya
Time – 3.00 pm (IST)
Venue- Howrah Stadium