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Goa, Bengal aim to recapture elusive Santosh Trophy crown

IANS logoIANS 25-03-2017

Goa won the crown last in 2008-09 while Bengal laid their hands on the title previously in 2010-11.

Bengal have played well till the semi-final but coach Mridul Banerjee sounded caution ahead of the crucial final.

"Rana Gharami, Prabhat Lakra and Basanta Singh are all nursing injuries, but I will have to field them as there are no other options," Banerjee said on the eve of the match.

"I told the boys to play the match just like any other game and avoid taking extra pressure. Together we will achieve the target," the coach added.

Goa meanwhile, have the luxury of playing in front of their home fans but that will also bring added pressure on the side.

After dominating the first half against Kerala, Goa were steamrolled in the second half and if not for a couple of good saves by Bruno Colaco and a fine performance in the heart of defence by Peter Carvalho, the story could have been different.

Coach Mateus Costa would have a huge decision to make whether to field Carvalho in defence or in midfield if Leny Pereira passes the fitness test.

The Quepem-born veteran has been Goa's best player on the pitch, fitting anywhere in the line-up whether in midfield or defence.

The sidebacks look more or less certain -- Nicolau Colaco and Assumption Soares -- both likely to get their sixth straight start.

"The boys have worked really hard to reach the final and I can assure you that whoever comes on the pitch will give more than their hundred percent. We want to win the Santosh trophy in front of our home fans and we will give it our all," Goa coach Costa said.

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