Defending champions Dempo suffered a devastating 1-5 home thrashing at the hands of Pune FC in an 11th round I-League match at Nehru Stadium, here, Saturday. The teams were tied 1-1 at half time.
It was Dempo who started in their customary attacking fashion and nearly struck in the very first minute when striker Ryuji Sueoka sent a long ball to captain Clifford Miranda, who in turn floated it into the rival box. But before Rohan Rickets could do the damage, defender Nigerian Chika Walli cleared the ball to safety. They had two more chances thereafter and once Joaquim Abranches’ right footer crashed into the crossbar.
Pune broke the deadlock when Ivory Coast midfielder Douhou Piere caught the rival defence on wrong foot and squared it to Karma T. The last named outpaced a rival defender and relayed it to striker James Moga who beat goalkeeper Subhaish Roy Chowdhury with a snap shot in the 15th.
Pune’s joy was shortlived as Dempo equalized through a gem of goal by Abranches in the 23rd minute as his free kick eluded the rival wall and goalkeeper Abra Mondal.
While Dempo created numerous forays but without any success, Pune’s Moga blundered with an open goal before him.
Dempo suffered a setback as Mahesh Gawli suffered an injury and was replaced by Shallum Pires.
After the change of ends, the Derrick Pereira coached side looked lively and threatening. They made it clear that they were not going to allow Dempo to dictate terms putting up a stout-hearted defensive play.
Dempo were fully exposed in defence when Samir Naik lost the ball to Paite, who relayed it to man-of-the-match James Moga who deceived Rowilson Rodrigues and Shallum and scored with a clinical finish in the 53rd.
Dempo’s defence was caught napping again in the 78th minute. Following a cross from Paite, James Moga headed towards Arata who unleashed a stiff shot which was blocked by the Dempo goalkeeper. Arata pounced on the rebound to silence the Dempo supporters.
Pune intensified their attacks and substitute Jeje Lalpekhula gave a brilliant finish to a Douhou Piere pass in the 79th minute. Douhou Piere added salt to Dempo’s wounds in the 83rd minute.
This was one of the heaviest defeats suffered by Colaco’s side as Pune continue their dominance over the Goan teams in the I-League.
Pune coach Derrick Pereira was delighted at the fantastic performance of the team. “It gives me satisfaction that every one worked hard and played according to our plan. This victory is one which I will savour and I dedicate it to my guru, former Salgaocar coach T Shanmugam, who passed away on Thursday,” remarked Derrick.
“We had a bad day in office. We played well in the previous matches but somehow we did not click today. We will forget this loss and I am sure my boys will bounce back in style. I am confident about that,” concluded Dempo chief coach Armando Colaco. [H]