MARGAO: True to their reputation of being the finest team in the country, Dempo Sports Club made it amply clear why they should be respected so much when they trounced fancied Kolkota outfit Mohun Bagan 3-0 in the Round 8 match of the I-League at Nehru stadium, Fatorda on Wednesday.
Dempo led 2-0 at half time with the goals coming from the boots of strikers Joaquim Abranches (40th minute) and Ryuji Sueoka (44th minute). In the second session, midfielder Godwin Franco scored a gem of a goal in the 70th minute to seal the fate of Mohun Bagan, who were left dumbfounded with the superlative effort. Godwin was eventually declared as the man-of-the-match for his excellent performance.
With this win, Dempo have now collected 19 points from eight matches to go second in the league table behind East Bengal (20 points) while Mohun Bagan slid one place to sixth as they stay on 11 points.
In the match, Dempo controlled the proceedings and were a far superior side as the team created good moves that completely left Mohun Bagan guessing for most of the play. Dempo’s defence consisting of Mahesh Gawli, Samir Naik, Peter Carvalho and Debabrata Roy was rock solid while midfielders Franco, Romeo Fernandes and Rohan Ricketts gave an excellent account of themselves. Ricketts in particular was at his best as he made the rival defence dance to his feet with his classic touches and excellent footwork. Going by Ricketts’ performance it seems that the former English Premier League star is only warming up to the task for Dempo.
Dempo signalled the things to unravel in the very third minute of play when Franco’s powerful shot hit the cross bar and came back into play and then quickly thereafter a curling cross from Clifford Miranda saw Abranches heading powerfully but Bagan keeper Shilton Paul brought off a smart save.
Bagan then created good moves with Odafa Okolie trying his luck but the Nigerian couldn’t get past the Dempo goalkeeper. Dempo then went on a counter offensive and produced two quick goals just a few minutes before half-time.
Defender Samir, moving in the middle, eluded a couple of rival defenders and from the top of the box on the right, sent a cross to Abranches on the left, who stretched his right leg to push the ball to the far corner of the Bagan goal.
Soon, Dempo scored again when Carvalho was brought down into the box by Bgan defender Nirmal Chetri. Referee B Balasubramaniam pointed to the penalty spot and Sueoka converted to take his goal tally in the league to six.
The second session was totally dominated by Dempo as Bagan had little say in the proceedings. To add to their woes, Bagan were reduced to ten men in the 54th minute when Biswajit Saha was red-carded for dangerous play as he made a bad foul on Franco.
As Dempo dictated terms, Franco then came up with a superb goal from a rebound after Ricketts had shot at the Bagan goal. As Franco received the ball, he let loose a powerful effort that crashed into the roof of the nets.
Speaking at the post-match briefing, Dempo coach Armando Colaco, while expressing his happiness at the win, said that his team’s performance was the best after the Federation Cup. “My team has kept up the respect we deserve,” said the coach. “Dempo is a class team. I am proud of my boys.” Colaco praised medio Franco saying “the lad has lot of potential and talent in him.”
Things did not go well for Mohun Bagan’s new coach Karim Bencherifa, who has moved to the Mariners after a successful stint at Salgaocar FC. The dreadful loss has left the Kolkata team dejected, but Bencherifa tried to put up a brave face.
“I think we had a good spell in the first half and we could have scored some goals,” Bencherifa asserted. “Dempo made three counter moves and scored two goals,” he said, adding that after the red card to Saha, his team failed to cope up with the pressure.
“Dempo showed their character in the second session while we tried hard despite being one man down,” Bencherifa said as he pointed out to Saha’s sending off as the turning point of the match.