Dempo Sports Club missed a chance to extend their lead at the top as they suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Neroca FC in the Second Division I-League match played at Khuman Lampak stadium in Imphal on Saturday.
Neroca FC scored in either half of play through David KC Ngaihte and second half substitute Seikhohao Tubai.
The win takes Neroca FC to the top with four points while Dempo SC slip to second position with three points.
It was a bright start by the Five-Times National Champions, but they faced Imphal team, which comfortably defended in numbers, leaving the visitors trying their luck from range.
The Goan outfit conceded both the goals due to defensive errors. The first goal came in the 15th minute when Mandar Rao Dessai failed to close down Neroca’s winger and David KC Ngaihte converted the resultant delivery in the box.
Dempo did have their chances but Romeo and Mandar – both failed to convert their chances. First -Romeo shot straight at the defender from a touching distance after being laid by Uttam Rai and at the half-hour mark it was Mandar- who shot wide with only keeper at his mercy. Neroca FC led 1-0 at break.
The second half saw more of the midfield battle and bad ground conditions made it even more difficult for Dempo to penetrate the rival defence.
Coach Mauricio made three substitutes in the final quarter to find the much needed goal as he brought in Holicharan Narzary, Germanpreeth and Beevan D’Mello in place of Uttam Rai, Peter Carvalho and Mandar Rao Dessai which indeed helped the visitors to mount pressure on the opposition.
Just when Dempo SC were attacking in numbers in the second half injury time, Neroca FC scored the second of the evening through Seikhohao Tuboi, who came on the pitch just minutes before he could score. Neroca FC defender played a long ball upfront which S Tubai -on getting hold of the ball -beautifully tricked the onrushing keeper to make it 2-0.
Dempo SC coach Mauricio Afonso was content with the team’s performance though couldn’t collect the three points.
“The boys played well. Nothing is over with this defeat. We have plenty of positive to take from this match,” said Dempo SC coach Mauricio Afonso.
“We considered two goals due to our defensive errors. The only difference today is that they converted their chances and we failed to score ours,” added Mauricio.
Dempo SC next play Mohammedan Sporting on April 7 in Kolkata.
“Positive result today could have boosted our spirit but never mind we are now looking forward to our next match against Mohammedan Sporting,” concluded Afonso.