Dempo go down fighting in the opener

Dempo Churchill

AUG 5, Mapusa: Dempo Sports Club were left to rue over their chances as 10 men Churchill bros overcame a stiff challenge from the hosts to emerge victorious by a lone goal in the opening match of the Airtel Goa Professional league played at Duler grounds, Mapusa.

 Crowds started pouring in early for the season opener and it was a delight to watch a full house at the picturesque Duler Stadium. Both the teams walked into the pitch with Dempo SC fielding both their foreigners Beto and Simon Colosimo in the playing eleven. Churchill on the other hand had Henry Antouchet marshaling the strike force while Lenny Rodrigues ably controlling the midfield.

 Churchill Bros unleashed a flurry of attacks on the Dempo goalpost in the first fifteen minutes and left the Dempo defence wanting for some more cover. Godwin Franco fell back from his position to control the marauding red machines while Simon Colosimo created some fantastic counter attacking moves for Jeje by his accurate long passes. While it seemed like Dempo would settle down and create moves into the rival territory, Lenny Rodrigues made the most of a hurried clearance attempt from Colosimo as he netted home the match winner for Churchill from just outside the box.

 Dempo regained their composure and held on to the score line until the half time. After some words of advice from Arthur Papas, Dempo began playing with their usual short passing game with Beto being at the nucleus of all.

 Jeje moved deeper into Churchill area and Clifford changed flanks to the right side. This move gave immediate results as the deadly combination of Debabrata, Beto, Cliffford and Jeje started terrorizing the Churchill defense. Clifford came very close to scoring on two occasions but was unable to finish the moves. Jeje too missed a header which should have been an easy gentle tap into the goal for the Mizo striker. Dempo missed nearly eight chances in the second half only to find themselves on the losing side. Meanwhile, Churchill Bros considered themselves lucky to hold on to the lead despite seeing Henry Anthouchet being red carded for his second foul on Prathamesh.

 The second half completely belonged to Dempo as Churchill defenders were gasping for air among a crowd of Dempo strikers and midfielders. Jewel Raja, Prathamesh and Peter Carvalho were substituted for Nickson Castana, Simon Colosimo and Tunard Fernandes. Lenny Rodrigues was considered the man of the match.