By Naveen Peter
With a loss and two draws against their name in the opening three games, the season might not have started the way Dempo SC would have expected it to, but the golden eagles will look to change the fate of things when they face a familiar foe, Salgaocar FC in their first local Derby in Mapusa on Wednesday.
The five time national champions have looked off colour in the initial three games and especially in their previous game against the newcomers Rangdajied United FC, where they let the team from Shillong come from two goals down to level the game before the referee could blow the final whistle.
“We were at fault. We had the match in our grasp firmly but could not kill our opposition. We must not let such matches slip out,” said Mauricio Afonso, the interim coach for Dempo, who took over the team from the Australian Arthur Papas who is currently down under and is expected to join the team later this week.
But with the derby glaring hard at the blue brigade, the team will endeavour to get over their former disappointment and approach the game with renewed energy and enthusiasm, as the 3-1 Goa- pro League win over Salgaocar in expected to be still fresh in their minds. But the gaffer knows that early season win could only come handy if Dempo plays to its potential. “It’s not whether Salgaocar will be ‘able’ to win again. We have to look at ourselves. A win is now a must for us,” said a determined Afonso. “Everyone knows that we have not won three matches but in the last two games, we had our chances. I am sure that we will be able to break the duck in the next one,” said Afonso, who realizes that the season is far from over.
Jeje Lalapekluha could once again partner Billy Mehmet up front, with the 21-year-old academy boy Myron Frenendes being restricted to the bench. The midfield could see the local boy Mandar Rao Desai, who has impressed one and all with his pace and precision on the left flank, partner Beto, Jewel (Raja) and Clifford (Miranda), while the experienced Simon Colosimo is expected to Marshall his troops from the back line.
Though Salgaocar on the other hand will be high on confidence after a series of victories over defending champions and local rivals Churchill Brothers, and the newly promoted Mohammedan Sporting, Dempo will surely be a different challenge for them. Whether the men from Vasco continue their impressive start to the season or if the blue brigade will finally find a way to secure their first win in the league, only time can say. But as of now, a blockbuster entertainment for all the football fans across the globe is guaranteed!
Kick off for todays match is 3:30 pm. Live on TEN Action