Dempo take a giant leap towards I-League title

February 28th, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Dempo Sports Club of Goa seems to have one hand on football’s I-League title as they extended their lead at the top by five points over second placed JCT, Phagwara after the 10th round of the tournament. Dempo thrashed city rivals Churchill Brothers 4-1 at home Thursday and have taken a giant leap towards the title. On the other hand, potential contenders JCT suffered a 1-3 away loss to Mahindra United. The defeat came as a big blow for the Phagwara team’s chances.

JCT coach Sukhwinder Singh earlier said that three teams - Dempo, JCT and Churchill Brothers - are in the title race and so far the script has unfolded according to his predictions.

Dempo are still at the top with 24 point from seven wins and three draws, and are followed by JCT and Churchill. JCT are second placed with 19 points from five wins, four draws and one loss while Churchill are third with 17 points from five wins, two draws and three losses.

Durand Cup champions Churchill have been riding on the drive of their prolific goal scorer Odafe Onyeka Okolie, who is now the top scorer with 12. The only time Okolie didn’t find the net was Thursday, when they suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Dempo. It won’t be easy going for the Churchill even in the 11th round where they will be pitted against Mahindra United.

Dempo, on the other hand, may also face some stiff resistance to extend their lead as they will face Sporting Clube de Goa in the next round. Sporting are high on spirit after defeating Mohun Bagan in the last round and are expected to give a tough fight to the title contenders as well.

A fierce battle is on the cards, when JCT take on troubled East Bengal at home in Ludhiana. The Kolkata club has happy memories from their last encounter in the Punjab town where they lifted the Federation Cup by beating Mahindra in the title clash in September. East Bengal had also beaten JCT 3-2 at the same venue when the two teams met last in a rough quarter-final match of the same tournament.

East Bengal, who were tipped to be one of the contenders for the I-League, have unexpectedly suffered six losses, managing to win only two games. With just eight points they are in the relegation zone.

Coach Subrata Bhattacharya will be looking towards his stars so that his team may start winning again from here on and come out of the dangerous zone.

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