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Tollygunge hold Dempo goalless

Source: PTI
January 28, 2005 20:00 IST
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Tollygunge Agragami came up with a strong defensive game to hold Dempo, Goa, to a goalless draw in a ninth National Football League match in Kolkata on Friday.

The visitors, still leading the league table with 10 points from four matches, dominated the midfield but failed to penetrate the defensive wall of Tollygunge and lost points after three consecutive victories.

Tollygunge, on the other hand, played with a draw in mind to cull one point from their first home tie following the humiliating 1-5 loss against Salgaocar in the previous match.

The Kolkata outfit now has five points from four outings.

Tollygunge had a few close chances from fast counter-attacks but failed to convert any.

Striker Akeem Abolanle, the lone player roaming upfront, missed a sitter in the 18th minute as he dangerously cut into the rival box, dodged past a defender and rammed an angular grass-cutter that narrowly missed the far post.

Five minutes later, Surajit Bose headed from close a Gauranga Dutta centre from the right but the ball went straight to Dempo custodian Satish Kumar.

The visitors, who kept firing long rangers towards the rival goal, came close to scoring in the 14th minute, when Nigerian striker Ronty Martins' flying header to a low cross from the left hit Tollygunge 'keeper Arindam Ghosh before defender Isiaka cleared the ball for a corner.

The game, which never rose to great heights before a handful of spectators, under a cloudy sky, was stopped for two minutes in the second session due to poor visibility before the flood-lights were switched on.

Dempo displayed some neat passing in the last 25 minutes before the break but failed to create positive chances, thanks to some stubborn defending by foreign imports Suley Musah and Isiaka in the Tollygunge defence.

In the early second half, the Goans had a look at the rival goalmouth when Martins essayed a forward pass for R C Prakash inside the rival box. But the latter failed to utilize the chance as Isiaka engaged the last-named in a tackle and referee S Suresh ruled against awarding penalty to the visitors.

The game soon turned into a lacklustre affair as heavy rain made it difficult for the players to maintain their body balance and control the ball on a slushy surface at the Salt Lake stadium.

Youngster Gauranga Dutta, who had tested the Dempo goalkeeper in the seventh minute of the game, fed Saumik De near the penalty arc in the 73rd minute, but the latter shot over the bar.

Dempo coach Armando Colaco made a couple of changes in the second half, but to no effect.

Tollygunge coach Biswajit Das expressed happiness to have culled the targeted one point from the Goan club.

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