Sporting Clube de Goa needed a draw to clinch the Goa Professional League title. In their penultimate match at Duler stadium on Thursday, they registered a solitary-goal win over title contenders Dempo SC and started their party much before the League comes to its conclusion.
As Sporting begin their party, the Professional League will gasp for interest as it reaches the finishing line as Churchill Brothers have still five of their matches to play. Sporting Clube reclaim the title from Salgaocar FC – who were the winners last year.
Sporting Clube de Goa clinched the title with 55 points while Dempo Sports Club stay on 44 points with two matches in hand.
Dempo coach Samir Naik made three changes in his starting XI with Mario Mascarenhas, Joaquim Abranches and Nestor Dias getting a nod after their last league win against SCC Cavelossim, while Sporting Clube de Goa coach Mateus Costa made two changes as Daryl Costa and Alston Camotio came in after their 2-0 win against Churchill
The match started cautiously with the Dempo lads preferring to hold. Sporting, who had the first crack at the goal in the 18th minute, played defensively and relied on counters to get the ball away from their counterparts. It was in one such attempt that Dempo goalkeeper Agnelo Gomes had to dive to keep a Sporting attempt at bay.
Twelve minutes later, it was Sporting who, once again, managed to leave the Dempo fans gasping as their foreign recruit Philip Odogwu failed to beat Dempo’s keeper in a one-to-one situation.
Title aspirants Golden Eagles managed to hold table toppers Flaming Oranje till the 46th minute of the first session when Nigerian Philip Odogwu finally gave his team the lead with a superb header.
In the 46th minute, a perfect cross from the right flank by Marcus Mascarenhas saw Nigerian Philip Odogwu leap high and connect his header into the goal at the first post, 1-0.
On crossing over Golden Eagles came with renewed ideas and should have wiped out the one goal deficit.
In the 59th minute, a neat pass by left back Naveen Mendes to Nestor Dias inside the penalty box saw the latter fail to keep his shot inside the goal framework.
Minutes later, a scorching free kick by substitute Suraj Hadkonkar was punched to safety by Sporting keeper Melroy Fernandes.
At the other end, a cross from the right wing by Quan Gomes saw an open header by Marcus Mascarenhas travel wide.
Another glorious chance went in vain for Golden Eagles when in the 71st minute a stiff grounder by Suraj from outside the penalty box was blocked by keeper Melroy and the ball rolled to Desmon Pereira who blasted the ball over the crossbar.