Dempo snatch injury time equalizer against Churchill, a win away from the title

In football or any sports for that matter, it’s not over until the final whistle. Churchill Brothers were taught a hard lesson when Dempo Sports Club snatched an injury time equalizer to deny Churchill from winning their first Goa League title sine 2008. Churchill can still win the title if both Dempo Sports Club and Salgaocar Sports Club fail to win in their respective final games but the destiny of the title is no longer in their own hands and they would have to depend on Sporting Clube de Goa and Vasco Sports Club to stop Salgoacr and Dempo respectively. In the first ever Goa League under the new format, three teams have a chance of winning the title, as was the case in the Relegation League, where four teams battled to avoid the drop- plenty of indication that Goa Football Assocition has done well to change the format of this years competition.

Dempo and Churchill players fight for the ball in their Goa League clash at the Nehru Stadium.

Dempo coach Mauricio Afonso had selection headaches ahead of this match. Ranti Martins and Peter Carvalho were both suspended after receiving red cards in the match against Salgaocar while Marcus Peixoto was out due to a double booking. Add to that Japanese Yusuke Kato was hospitalized after a bout of food poisoning. Dempo started with just one foreigner up front in Koko Sakibo with Joy Ferrao partnering him. ClimaxLawrencewas drafted in place of Peter while Jessel Carneiro replaced Marcus Peixoto.

Churchill got a corner as early as the fifth minute but it was cleared by the Dempo defense. The hot and humid weather made life difficult for both sets of players in the first half. Dempo’s first real chance came in the 10th minute when a sudden burst of speed on the right from Romeo Fernandes saw him accelerate past the defense and deliver a cross to Joy Ferrao who blasted over the bar. Churchill took the lead in the 15th minute when Henri Antchouet after receiving a through ball from midfield went past Mahesh Gawli and blasted the ball pats keeper Laxmikant Kattimani. Five minutes later Koko had a great chance to equalize but Antun Kovacic saved the day for Churchill Brothers with a last ditch tackle. In the second half, Dempo replaced Brian with Cliffton Gonsalves and an injured Climax Lawrence was replaced by Micky Fernandes. The substitutions brought about a change in strategy as Dempo went all out for the equalizer. The cool weather also helped the pace of the game to increase drastically.

Deep into injury time however Dempo scored the leveler after Cresson Anato punted home after being fed by Koko Sakibo. Dempo now play Vascop Sports Club in their final match and a win would see them successfully defend the Goa League title.