Al Muharraq tear Dempo apart in AFC CupApril 2nd, 2008 - 9:55 pm ICT by admin
Margao, April 2 (IANS) Brazilian Leandson Da Silva was in majestic form as Al Muharraq demolished I-League champions Dempo Sports Club 4-0 to come close to a quarter final berth in the AFC Cup at Nehru Stadium in Goa. Da Silva scored all the four goals for the Bahrain League and Cup winners after leading 2-0 at the breather.
The second win in three games helped Al Muharraq get to seven points and stay unbeaten at the end of the first leg and in a commanding position to move into the quarter-finals.
Dempo Sports Club were banking largely on their home advantage where the April heat can stifle the toughest of opponents here.
However, Muharraq - who arrived here four days earlier - seemed to have no problems with the searing heat as they turned the heat on their rivals, quite literally, right from the word go.
Da Silva, among Bahrain’s highest paid footballers, opened the scoring in the sixth minute after guiding Abdulla Abdakeel’s cross into the net to leave the home side stunned.
Having seen the home side fight back several times in the AFC Cup and the I-League, Al Muharraq knew it was important to sustain the momentum.
The Bahrain side continued to mount pressure, but until the half hour mark the scorers were not disturbed.
Al Muharraq got their second in the 30th minute after Leandson - who missed a sitter minutes earlier - majestically curved an in-stepper from just outside the box even as Dempo goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal stood his ground and appreciated the beauty of that goal.
Dempo were caught completely unawares by the early onslaught and never looked like finding the back of the net.
Nigerian strikers Ranty Martins and Edeh Chidi had virtually nothing to show except for long rangers that were aimed at the sky while Brazilian midfielder Roberto Mendes da Silva was uncharacteristically wayward even during set-pieces.
By the time both teams took the field after the change of ends, Al Muharraq had already taken a firm grip on the match.
A 48th minute penalty by Leandson - awarded after Abdakeel was brought down by substitute sweeper Dominic Noronha - only helped pile the miserly on hapless Dempo while 10 minutes later the Brazilian striker was again on target when Dempo defence failed to clear Aaish Faouzi’s free-kick and Leandson delivered with an outrageous attempt.
On the field, the day seemed perfect for Al Muharraq, but the Bahrain champions were left to rue three crucial bookings of Aaish Faouzi, De Paula Juliano and Salmeed Mohammed. That might cost them heavily in latter matches.
Tags: abhijit, afc cup, berth, chidi, cup winners, firm grip, goalkeeper, highest paid footballers, home advantage, league champions, mendes da silva, mondal, nehru stadium, quarter finals, rivals, seven points, sports club, stepper, strikers, three games