Feb 03:Koko Sakibo’s late strike denied Mumbai FC an away victory as Dempo SC returned from a two-goal deficit to hold Mumbai Football Club to a 2-2 draw in the I-League match played at Duler grounds, here on Saturday.

Dempo’s Nigerian recruit Koko Sakibo netted the equaliser in the 89th minute as the home team kept the full house glued to their seats till the final whistle.

Head Coach Armando Colaco stuck to Dempo’s usual 4-4-2 formation with Ryuji Sueoka back in action upfront after a brief injury period. Although plagued by numerous injuries this season, Armando Colaco had a strong back up line of replacements that proved their worth in the first ten minutes

In the very 2nd minute of the match Dempo’s Godwin Franco sent a delightful floater to Anthony Pereira who flicked the ball to India International Joaquim Abranches, inside the danger zone, who shot went weakly into the goalkeeper’s hands.

In the 9th minute, Joaquim Abranches sent the large supporters into raptures as he headed the ball into the goal, off a cross by Valeriano Rebello, only to see the assistant referee pulling up the flag for off side.

As the match progressed it was some outstanding goalkeeping by both the custodians, who came to their team’s rescue. A fierce shot from just outside the 6-yard box by Opra was blocked by Dempo keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, while at the rival end keeper Luis Baretto flung to his left to block Anthony Pereira’s shot from inside the penalty box.

A free kick in the 40th minute of play on the right flank by Nicholas Rodrigues was superbly curled inside the Dempo goal which rebounded off the horizontal bar at the feet of Nigerian Evans Quao, who slammed the ball into the back of the nylons, 1-0.

Three minutes before the hooter and the Blues should have equalized but Joaquim’s header was blocked by Abhishek Yadhav for a corner.

The second half was full of thrills right from the start. Mumbai doubled their lead to 2-0 when Ghanian Yusif Yukubu sent a long cross from the right flank to the left flank to unmarked Opara, who after squandering numerous goal-scoring opportunities finally scored with a long ranger which crashed to the far corner of the goal, with Dempo keeper beaten hands down.

In the last quarter of the match and Dempo coach Armando Colaco brought in two quick substitutions in the form of medio John de Menyongar and Koko Sakibo, which brought enormous transformations in the attack.

A pass by Anthony Pereira, in the 86th minute inside the penalty box, was finished by Peter Carvalho into the goal past the clueless Mumbai defence.

Dempo upped their ante and the Mumbai outfit were reduced to ten men as James Singh was given marching orders for second booking by the referee.

Lack of concentration saw Mumbai concede their second goal. With Mumbai player lying down injured, inside the goal area, Yakubu cleared the ball outside the playing field. Clifford Miranda, who took the following throw-in sent the ball to John De Menyongar who again floated the ball to Koko Sakibo for the equalizer, 2-2. 

In the post-match chat, Dempo coach Armando Colaco said that there was no dispute in the last goal which they scored “Clifford told me that he did not touch anybody. My assistant coach was there. In fact, I came with the intention of suspending him (Miranda) more. But after he told me the truth, I had to take it back because he did not do anything “Mr. Colaco also said he was happy with the three changes he came up with and complimented the players for fighting it out and scoring those two goals.

Mumbai coach Khalid Jamil said that he was thinking that his side were destined for three points as his team had started very well, in an away match, scoring two goals and also controlling the game well. “This is football and anything can happen. It was my dream to win against a good opponent,” Jamil said. “I am still happy to get a point from this match,” he concluded.

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