Dempo shock Salgaocar
Dempo's dream run in the seventh edition of the National Football League continued as they
beat Goa Professional League champions Salgaocar 2-1 to register their second successive victory in the tournament, at the Nehru Stadium, in Margao, Goa, on Wednesday.
After a barren and listless first-half, Dempo, who gained promotion after winning the Second Division league last season with an all-win record, scored through medio Lazarus Fernandes (64th minute) and substitute Ratan Singh (73rd).
Salgaocar got their goal through Dennis Cabral, in the 71st minute.
Dempo, who had earlier beaten Vasco 1-0, now have six points
from two matches, while Salgaocar have one point following a draw with Churchill Brothers.
There were not much thrills in the first-half, despite
Salgaocar probing into the rival area repeatedly. Sunday Seah was their worst offender, failing to score from three good chances in the first-half. Had he been on target even once in the first session, the story may have been different.
Dempo were well-served by their defenders, Bolaji and Wilton Gomes in particular, who kept the Salgaocar strikers on a tight leash.
The introduction of striker Francis Silveira, who scored the match-winner in their opening match against Vasco, in the second session lent thrust to the Dempo attack. He came in place of an off-colour Uzbek striker Sergey Andreev, who played his first match today. Silveira and Lazarus Fernandes always posed a threat to the Salgaocar defence which lacked confidence in the wake of mounting attacks.
Dempo drew first blood in the 64nd minute through Lazarus, who scored following a well-measured pass from Jose Colaco. As Salgaocar goalkeeper Kalyan Chowbey rushed forward, Lazarus tapped the ball over his head into the net - 1-0.
Stung by the setback, Salgaocar accelerated their pace and restored parity in the 71st minute through Dennis Cabral, who trapped Bungo Singh's floater, dribbled past Dempo defenders Melwin Rodriques and Bolaji from Nigeria and evaded goalkeeper Francis Fernandes before finishing cleanly - 1-1.
Dempo increased their lead in the 73rd minute through substitute Ratan Singh, who replaced an injured Lazarus Fernandes. His power-packed 25-yarder, off a pass from Silveira, brooked no opposition from Chowbey.
Dempo had another chance to consolidate their lead in the dying minutes of the second-half but Chowbey brought off a smart save off an attempt from James Singh.
Complete Coverage: 7th National Football League 2002-03