Dempo fail to make AFC Cup final

October 21st, 2008 - 10:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Oct 21 (IANS) Dempo’s dream of becoming the first Indian team to qualify for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup came crashing down after they were thrashed 4-1 here by Lebanon’s Safa FC in the home-leg of the semi-final stage Tuesday. After an inspiring performance in their away match in Beirut, where Dempo lost 1-0, much was expected from the Goan team in their home leg. But poor defence cost the I-League winners a slice of history at the Gachibowli Stadium.

Mohammed Kassad and substitute Hussain Tahan scored a brace each for the visitors while Mboyo Iyomi struck the consolation goal for Dempo.

The Lebanese club, which is playing in the AFC Cup for the first time, went ahead in the seventh minute when Mohammed Kassad headed in from Rony Azhar’s well directed header as Dempo defenders looked in awe.

Ten minutes later Kassad was again on mark after he cashed on a faulty clearance by Mahesh Gawli and Valaeriano Rebelo.

Safa went into the break with a 2-0 lead and after the breather Dempo showed more intent to come back into the match.

Iyomi struck in the 61st minute after an exchange with Ranty Martins to reduce the margin. Apart from Iyomi’s strike, Dempo got another chance when Anthony Pereira’s volley was thwarted by the goalkeeper.

It was then left to Tahan, who struck twice in the last three minutes to crush Dempo’s dream.

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