Dempo Sports Club lifts I-League title

February 23rd, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by admin  

Kozhikode, Feb 23 (IANS) Goa’s Dempo Sports Club defeated Viva Kerala 4-1 Saturday to sneak past Churchill Brothers on a better goal difference to became the I-league football champions. Dempo emerged champions as they had a superior goal difference of plus 22 compared to Churchill’s 18. Both the teams were in contention for the title with 36 points each.

Dempo outplayed Viva Kerala in the league match, scoring three goals in the first session and one in the second. Viva scored its lone goal in the first half.

The first two goals came in quick succession. Edeh Chidi opened the score for Dempo in the 27th minute. Four minutes later Dempo increased the lead from a penalty kick.

The referee showed the spot when advancing Nicolav Borges was tripped by Viva custodian Purushothaman in the penalty box. Dempo captain Ranty Soleye made no mistake as he placed the ball neatly on the right corner of the net.

Shaken by two goals, Viva showed more vigour in its attack, winning two corners in succession. Second corner by Othalo Tabia found Saleel in Dempo’s penalty box. He shot the ball into the net past Dempo goalie Mondal Abijit.

A minute before the end of the first half Chidi scored his second goal for Dempo connecting a back pass from Silva Roberto in front of the Viva goalpost.

Dempo pressed on for fortifying the lead. The perseverance showed in the 80th minute when Roberto scored from a corner taken by Johnny D’Cruz. Roberto’s shot scrapped Viva’s Saleel before landing in the net.

Dempo coach Armando Colaco said, “It was a great team effort that brought Dempo the title, despite of the team being handicapped with injury to leading players like Mahesh Gawli,” he said.

Dempo captain Ranty dedicated the I-League win to his nine-month-old daughter Blessings.

“She was born on the day I entered into contract with the Dempo club,” said Ranty.

“It was the team spirit which won the title for us. The preparations for the league matches were difficult as we lost many of our key players due to injuries,” he told reporters.

Ranty said East Bengal was the toughest team he had met in the league. “The playing condition is tough here and in Margao. It is very hot. We could play better if matches are organized in the night,” he added.

“There should be more teams playing in the league. There should be at least 14 teams, if not 16. This will help more people get opportunity to play,” Ranty added.

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