Jan 13: Shillong Lajong will lament their missed chances for a long time as they held defending I-League champions Dempo Sports Club to a goalless draw here at JN stadium, Shillong.
The home team started well but failed to convert any chances inside the first half. Dempo SC defence was put to test by the Nigerian strike duo of Gnebme Friday and Ebi Sukore, but the ever dependent wall of Mahesh Gawli , Samir Naik, Cresson Antao and Rowilson Rodrigues held the fort until the midfield found their feet in the match. Lajong initially put Dempo in pressure by winning as many as three flag kicks inside the first 5 minutes. However poor finishing by Lajong ensured that Dempo received the much needed respite to organize themselves.
Koko Sakibo made a feeble attempt at the Lajong goalpost in the 12th minute, but his weak shot at goal was well collected by the goalkeeper. Dempo survived a scare in the dying minutes of the first half as defender Samir Naik cleared a timely tackle on Gnebme Friday who was otherwise headed towards the Dempo goalpost.
After a probable dressing down by Coach Armando, Dempo looked much organised in the second half. There was fluidic movement and space created for the strikers by Dempo midfield comprising of Climax, Godwin, Clifford and Anthony. Shillong Lajong was rubbing their back on their own goalpost in the initial stages as Joaquim Abranches and Koko Sakibo pressurized their defence.
Both teams had their equal share of chances in the match, but none of them could find the winning ways. Dempo did try to mount attacks in the closing stages of the match, but the Lajong defence, manned by North Korean Min Chol Son and backed by a boisterous crowd ensured that the visitors went home with just a single point.
Dempo will now play their next match against United Sikkim on 19th January at 3:45 pm at the Duler Grounds, Mapusa.