Dempo’s AFC Champions League dream overFebruary 26th, 2009 - 1:44 pm ICT by IANS
Sharjah, Feb 26 (IANS) I-League champions Dempo’s chances of qualifying for the AFC Champions League came crashing as they were thrashed 0-3 by UAE League side Sharjah in their West Asia play-off encounter at Sharjah Stadium here.
In the match Wednesday night, Sharjah held a 2-0 lead at the break after Brazilian striker Anderson opened the scoring early before compatriot Jean Carlos doubled their advantage in the 34th minute. Mousa Hatab put the result beyond doubt when he netted a third 10 minutes after the break.
Sharjah opened the account in the 11th minute when Nawaf Mubarak’s free-kick from the right went to Anderson and the Brazilian found the back of the net from inside the area.
The hosts kept up the pressure and came close to increasing the lead in the 32nd minute when Iraqi defender Hussein Alaa header off Mubarak’s corner was cleared by Dempo goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal off the line.
But two minutes later, Carlos ran into the area and beat defender Samir Koda before putting it past Mondal. The third goal came in the 55th minute when Carlos’ corner found an unmarked Hatab who headed home to put the score beyond the Indian club’s reach.
Dempo got a chance to pull back one in the next minute when Nigerian Ranty Martins hit a first time volley from inside the box, but his effort was saved by Sharjah goalkeeper Rashid Ahmed. Ahmed was tested again in the 59th minute when Brazilian midfielder Beto struck a powerful free-kick but the Sharjah custodian was equal to the effort.
Beto had another chance a minute later but was denied from close range by Ahmed before Martins shot wide shortly afterwards.
Sharjah now booked their spot in Group B of Asia’s premier club competition.