Former Arsenal footballer Rohan Ricketts’ first I-League goal and an assist by him helped Dempo SC to move to the top position by registering a 2-1win against Salgaocar FC in a tough derby played at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda-Margao on Saturday.
Striker Rohan Rickets provided Dempo SC the lead in the 29th minute of play while the other goal was scored by Japanese striker Ryuji Sueoka in the 84th minute. Salgaocar FC pulled one back in the 58th minute through their Australian forward Sean Rooney.
Searching for the goal right at the start of the match, Dempo began well for the first few minutes of play but Salgaocar soon settled well and the match then began to be played on a hot pace with both the teams dishing out an exciting brand of soccer that kept everyone guessing throughout the 90-minute gruelling duel.
At least on one occasion in the first half, Salgaocar’s medio, Namibian Quinton Jacob threatened the Dempo goal, with a powerful left footer in the 17th minute of play which just flew over the bar, missing the mark narrowly.
Dempo celebrated this escape with a great goal after Salgaocar defender Randeep Singh faltered with a mispass which went to Rohan Ricketts who took into his stride two of the Salgaocar defenders and created enough space for himself and then let loose a stiff grounder that had no answer from Salgaocar’s confident goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
After Salgaocar missed a couple of chances to score, they finally equalised in the 58th minute through Sean Rooney whose powerful header from a cross by defender Rahul Kumar from the right had no answer from the Dempo keeper.
In the 84th minute, Japanese striker Ryuji Sueoka, found himself in the right position when he headed in a cross from Rohan Ricketts to give lead to the current I-League champions. The match then rose to great heights and if Salgaocar lost, it was rather a painful defeat as they too matched the Dempo team equally well in all respects of the game.
Speaking at the post match briefing, Dempo coach Armando Colaco while saying that the derby match is always difficult said his boys played well to win the match. He stated that even Salgaocar played well.
On the other hand, David Booth, the Salgaocar coach said that his team did well to defend at crucial moments and lacked professional instincts.