4th March 2015, Fatorda, Goa- It finished up all square at the PJN Stadium, Fatorda as Dempo SC took on Mohun Bagan. On a run of back to back defeats and the subsequent resignation of Head Coach Arthur Paps, the Golden Eagles and their fans were looking for a much improved performance.
Dempo SC interim coach Mauricio Afonso made three changes to the side that lost to East Bengal. Calum Angus returned to captain the squad as well as to sure up the Dempo back four. Up front Alwyn George and Holicharan Narzary were brought in to bolster the attack as Rowilson Rodrigues, Clifford Miranda and Jewel Raja dropped to the bench. In contrast Sanjoy Sen made just one change to his Mohun Bagan side with Souvik Chakraborty replacing Bikramjit Singh.
From the onset Dempo SC set out with a much more aggressive approach, closing down their opponents at every opportunity. And their efforts nearly paid dividends as Holicharan Narzary found himself with shooting opportunity as early as the first minute. However he only managed to send his shot wide. Mohun Bagan quickly fashioned an opportunity of their own however Balwant Singh headed just wide from a Katsumi Yusa corner on the right.
Narzary and Carlos Hernandez then came close with Hernandez shooting wide from distance. Dempo seemed to have got their attacking prowess back in the opening moments however they couldn’t make their superiority count and soon found themselves behind after the half hour mark after Sony Norde zipped down the left wing and squared the ball towards the six-yard box where a waiting Balwant Singh neatly put the ball in the back of the net with a simple tap in to make it 1 – 0 to the Mariners.
However a few minutes later, the goal creator, Norde was involved in an off the ball incident where he looked to have elbowed Nirmal Chettri following some good pressure being applied by the Dempo right back. The referee who was in perfect position sent off the Mariners winger as Mohun Bagan were reduced to 10 men just before half time.
The second half saw Afonso make a change immediately with defender Rowilson Rodrigues being brought on for an out of sorts Mandar Rao Dessai. Afonso also made a tactical switch which saw Haroon Amiri pushed up into midfield as the Golden Eagles went out in search of an equaliser.
Dempo SC dominated the 10 men of Mohun Bagan for most of the second half as the visitors were forced to sit deep .However they’re organisation reduced the home team to shots from distance.
As the match went on Dempo turned up the pressure on the visitors as Lenny Rodrigues picked up the ball from midfield and played it forward to Hernandez whose left-footed shot was kept out well by Mariners keeper Majumder.
That was followed up with Alwyn and Narzary coming close on two counts with the latter’s shot deflected out for a corner by Pritam Kotal with a timely block in the 53rd minute while Bagan slowly started inching their way out of their own half.
In the Dempo striker’s last chance before he was substituted by Joy Ferrao in the 65th minute, Narzary’s curling effort from outside the box had Majumder scrambling across the face of his goal but luckily for the Bagan custodian, the ball rolled wide.
A rare foray forward for Bagan saw Balwant find himself in the Dempo box, but some bad decision-making from the goal-scorer resulted in his shot go high and wide in the 77th minute.
A few moments later, Amiri looked to have lost his cool completely after a challenge with Balwant which saw a melee of players surrounding the two almost instantaneously. Referee O.P. Thakur brandished a yellow card at the Dempo defender as a consequence.
Dempo SC were finally able to make their game long dominance count in the 89th minute. Skipper Calum Angus pushed forward to add some more muscle to the attack. The Englishman found himself on the end of a deflected cross but quickly adjusted his position and on the volley sent the ball screaming into the back of the net.