Dempo lose track of title race

Mar 24, MAPUSA: Dempo Sports Club failed to garner three vital points in their race to the title as Sporting Clube de Goa won with a solitary-goal against the defending I-League champions at the Duler Stadium, here on Sunday.

The North-Goan derby eventually went in Sporting’s favour courtesy a 51st minute own goal by Dempo defender Rowilson Rodrigues. The former Churchill man had an impressive game otherwise.

Sporting exerted pressure right from the start while Dempo took time to settle. Nevertheless, Armando Colaco’s men had a clear look at the rival goal in the 17th minute as Ryuji Sueoka leaped high to meet Anthony Pereira’s cross but the Japanese’s header moved over the cross bar.

Sporting, on the other hand, were creating some fantastic openings but their attackers ran short of ideas on reaching the Dempo territory.

The change of ends brought a change in fortune for Flaming Oranje as their striker Juan Pena, in the 51st minute, sent in a cross from the left flank however Dempo stopper back Rowilson, in an attempt to clear, miss-kicked the ball into his own nets, 1-0.

The goal inspired the Sporting camp to get even more offensive in their approach and they nearly doubled the lead in the 57th minute when striker Dawson Fernandes failed to keep his header low after receiving a cross from Jovel Martins.

Dempo though created many chances but failed to get the much-needed equaliser, as they failed to stick to their passing game policy. The players seemed to be more keen on playing direct football sending long balls from the centreline.

Dempo had a golden opportunity to restore parity when John De Menyongar got into a good position but he held the ball little too long to ultimately make a mess out of the situation. The game heated up towards the final stages, so much so that the Sporting coach Oscar Bruzon was asked to leave the field by referee Arun Pillai.

At the post match press conference, Sporting’s technical director Alex Alvares said, “The boys are promising. We only have to motivate them. We have beaten the good teams from Goa. The boys are very hardworking and sincere.”

Meanwhile, the injury woes for Dempo continued and yellow card cautions have also added to the misery by keeping some players suspended. “It’s bad. We had to win today, we had the chances as well. If Johnny (John De Menyongar) had scored the equaliser, the result would have been different,” lamented Dempo coach Armando Colaco.

“But now the situation is bad. We already have injured players plus some players suspended. Ryuji has picked up a hamstring problem and he will be out for a long time. Looks like he will be out for the rest of the season. Nevertheless, we will try hard with the players available with us. We will fight till the end,” he said.

Dempo SC will play their next match against Pune FC at the balewadi stadium on 28th March

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