Bengal face Railways in Santosh Trophy semi-finals

Bengal, like in the last edition, finished second in their quarterfinal league group, something which coach Shabbir Ali doesn’t mind as long as the boys don’t let him down.

“There are two ways of looking at it for sure. But in both cases, you ought to win the semis and the final. There’s no room for complacency,” said the former India captain.

“We have to play well and win the match. There is no other alternative. I am very much happy with the composition of the team. The boys are playing well. We intend to play to our potential,” he said.

Ali said the 1-2 defeat to Tamil Nadu in the quarterfinal league stage acted as a wake-up call for the team.

“The match has been a sort of wake-up call for us. We did experiment a bit in the match but I will have to admit we were nowhere near our best,” he said.

Shabbir knows that beating Railways will be difficult for his team. “They have performed exceptionally well so far. They have recruited some good players - Riju and Satish have impressed me,” he said.

Ali is pinning hopes on striker Branco Cardozo, midfielders Mumtaz Akhtar and Francis Fernandes. “Branco holds the key. He has been playing well. I hope he continues to find the net for us,” he said.

Having finished the quarterfinal league as toppers in Group B, Railways are also high on confidence.

“It’s the Santosh Trophy and we are facing Bengal. It is a huge task. No team can ever take Bengal lightly. We have specific plans for them," said coach Souren Dutta.

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