How many goalless draws in football have been entertaining? Not many, but this one surely was. The Dempo-Salgaocar clash had all the makings of a blockbuster. It had superb saves, goal line clearances, minor altercations between the players and some horrendous misses by the strikers. The large crowd at Fatorda was treated to some fast paced football. In the end a draw was a fair result that restores Dempo’s three point advantage at the top.
The game started with Salgaocar looking threatening and the Dempo defense was under severe pressure. Salgaocar could have easily gone a goal to the good had Ryuji Sueoka not missed from handshaking distance. But Salgaocar’s breezy start made them vulverable to the counter attack and Dempo nearly made them pay on two occasions. In the first instance Ranti Martins after being played by Koko Sakibo, ran down from the left and shot just wide of the right post of Karanjit Singh. The second chance fell to the feet of Koko Sakibo who had the goalkeeper at his mercy but he too shot wide. In the first half Edeh Chidi looked dangerous and he gave Mahesh Gawli and Cresson Antao a harrowing time with his shielding of the ball and ability to spot the runs of Japanese Ryuji Sueoka.
Dempo canme out as a much organized team in the second half and looked the more compact of the two sides. There was a goalline clearance in the 56th minute off a corner from Anthony Pereira. Koko Sakibo took advantage of a fumble from Karanjit Singh and heded the ball goal wards but Biswajit Saha effected a goal line clearance. A couple of minutes later a rasping drive by Anthony Pereira was well saved by Karanjit. But Ranti missed the easiest of chances just before full time when Koko Sakibo stole the ball from Luciano and essayed a diagonal only for Ranti to miss an open net. Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa was happy with his teams performance, specially with the fact that they were still unbeaten in eight games with two draws. Dempo coach Mauricio Afonso filling up for the convalescing Armando Coalco however was disappointed with his strikers missing so many chances. “We could have easilty won 6-2. It was a crucial match and one cannot miss so many chances. The players could have scored with ease”, he signed off. Subhasish Roy Chowdhury won the Man of the Match award. Dempo travel to Pyne today to play their next game on the 1st of February against Mumbai FC.