Defending champions Dempo Sports Club got the better of Salgaocar Football Club 2- 1 in a ninth round ILeague football match at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Saturday.
Dempo led 1- 0 at half time.
Dempo chief coach Armando Colaco would not have been satisfied for anything less than a win and the players responded well with Rohan Rickets and Ryuji Sueoka scoring a goal each to clinch the top spot of the League table.
Dempo could have forged ahead in the third minute when striker Rohan got past the rival defender and sent a fine cross inside the rival penalty area but none of his colleagues were present to utilize the opportunity. Rohan put his team ahead in the 29th minute thanks to rival central midfielder Randeep Singh’s folly. Rohan intercepted Randeep’s feeble pass and quickly raced towards the rival box and unleashed a low grounder which beat Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh hands down.
Six minute later, Dempo were unlucky when Japanese striker and man- of- the- match Sueoka’s smart header kissed the crossbar and went out off
a Godwin Franco floater. Salgaocar tried to get back into the game but failed to capitalize on an opportunity when in the 40th minute Sean Rooney failed to get past Dempo defender Samir Naik.
Dempo had a chance to consolidate their adevantage but Rohan failed to control the ball off a Joaquim pass.
In the injury time, Salgaocar had a chance to neutralize the lead but Rooney ballooned over from close range.
After resumption, David Booth’s side regrouped quickly and scored the equalizer through Rooney in the 58th minute. Following a well executed cross from the right by substitute Milagres Gonsalves, Rooney caught the Dempo defenders napping and scored with a sizzling header.
The equalizer helped Salgaocar to launch a couple off raids and came close to taking the lead but Rooney’s header missed the target narrowly off a Nicolau Colaco cross.
After a few hiccups, Dempo intensified their attacks. The introduction of Climax Lawrence added more teeth to the waistline. Dempo created many chances but strikers Rohan and Sueoka frittered away many chances.
Dempo nearly made it 2- 1 but Rohan’s snap shot missed the target narrowly. Dempo had an excellent chance to regain the lead in the 80th minute when Joaquim sent in a fine cross inside the rival box but Sueoka miss the flight of the ball while Romeo Fernandes muffed a sitter.
Sueoka scored the matchwinner in the 84th minute when he headed home off a Rohan chip from the left via Climax.
Late in the second half, Dempo goalkeeper Laximikant Kattimani came to his side’s rescue and collected Rooney’s header.
With this win, Dempo regained their top spot with 22 points from nine matches while Salgoacar suffered their sixth defeat and have six points from the same number of encounters.
Colaco was elated with the three points. “ The boys played well. I am happy with the performance of my boys and we needed this win to climb back to the top,” said Colaco.
Salgaocar coach David Booth was happy with the performance of the team but the disappointment of a loss was written all over his face.
“ We created chances in the second half and we also put tremendous pressure on them. However, lack of concentration in the defence at the crucial juncture cost us the game,” said the dejected English coach.
I- LEAGUE RESULTS Salgaocar 1 Dempo 2 Pailan 4 ONGC 1 Lajong 0 E Bengal 0 Top I- League table [H]