CFL 2021 -- Group leaders face steep competition from emerging contenders

THE GROUP LEADERS in Calcutta Football League 2021 are feeling the heat as contender clubs like Calcutta Customs, George Telegraph and Railway FC are making their way up the ladder.

On Sunday 22nd August, the Group A saw a logjam at the top expand to four clubs. Mohammedan Sporting still maintain the top spot thanks to their 3-0 win over Southern Samity, but they now have BSS SC, Bhawanipore FC as well as Railway FC all with 3 points to their name.

Sunday's fixture between Railway and Southern Samity saw the former turn around from their first round loss to BSS SC with a commanding 2-1 win over bottom-placed Southern Samity. Achintya Ghosh and Rayden Gonzo found the net for Railway, and although Southern put up a fight through Peter Haokip's goal, it wasn't enough to keep them in the game.

Railway will now face their second big test of the season when they take on Bhawanipore FC on 27th August. With only the top three of the group going to the championship round, this will be an opportunity for Railway to move above the bottom four.

Meanwhile, Group B is where most of the weekend's action took place. On Saturday, defending champions Peerless SC saw their early lead in the points table challenged by two worthy contenders.

Two renowned clubs, George Telegraph and Tollygunge Agragami, faced off in what was a battle of nerves throughout the 90 minutes. Both sides created chances and there were hard tackles abound. The match remained goalless throughout the regulation time. It was in the 5 minutes of added time that things changed.

Tollygunge Agragami's Gagandeep Singh, who played for major clubs like Salgaocar, Air India and Mohammedan Sporting at one point, committed a foul inside the penalty box. The 92nd minute penalty was duly converted for George Telegraph by Mohitosh Roy Rajbanshi.

This last-gasp victory got George Telegraph's CFL 2021 campaign off to a winning start, but they were every bit matched by Calcutta Customs who started their campaign with a 1-0 victory of their own against Aryan Club. Alocious M was the scorer for Customs.

Both George Telegraph and Calcutta Customs joined the top three logjam in Group B, where they had the same points as defending champions Peerless SC, separated only by a razor thin goal difference.

Up next, there will be a two day showdown to determine who would remain at the top of Group B. On Wednesday (25th August), Peerless SC will face Aryan Club while Calcutta Customs will take on Tolygunge Agragami. On Thursday (26th August), George Telegraph will have their say in the leaderboard as they try to continue their winning streak against Kidderpore SC.

On Tuesday (24th August) a match is scheduled between Bhawanipore and East Bengal. Although due to the current complications between East Bengal club officials and their investors, one can assume this game will have to be postponed for now. 

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