Dempo clinch Salgaocar derby

MARGAO: English footballer Rohan Ricketts’ first I-League goal and an assist by him helped Dempo SC to move to the top position by registering a 2-1win against Salgaocar FC in a tough derby played at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda-Margao on Saturday.

Striker Rohan Rickets provided Dempo SC the lead in the 29th minute of play while the other goal was scored by Japanese striker Ryuji Sueoka in the 84th minute. Salgaocar FC pulled one back in the 58th minute through their Australian forward Sean Rooney.

With this win, Dempo have now collected 22 points in 9 matches while Salgaocar are only on 6 points.

Searching for the goal right at the start of the match, Dempo began well for the first few minutes of play but Salgaocar soon settled well and the match then began to be played on a hot pace with both the teams dishing out an exciting brand of soccer that kept everyone guessing throughout the 90-minute gruelling duel.

Englishman Ricketts was outstanding all the while with his dazzling performances, while in the defence it was Rowilson Rodrigues who did not give much space for the Salgaocar forwards who came charging now and then as the ball rolled on from one end to
the other.

To speak a little more on Ricketts’ fine game today, the Englishman’s control on the ball was just fantastic along with the touch to the ball and whenever the ball was in his possession; he hardly faltered and made it difficult for the opponents to snatch the ball away from him.

Not that Sueoka missed out on any glaring chances, but the Japanese striker could have been morefaster to take advantage of the passes that Ricketts provided him to score more goals.

On the other hand, it was Sean Rooney who created panic in the Dempo defence at times, whenever the ball came to his feet and the dashing forward latched on quickly to unleash some shots which wouldn’t find the mark.

At least on one occasion in the first half, Salgaocar’s medio, Namibian Quinton Jacob threatened the Dempo goal, with a powerful left footer to be précis, in the 17th minute of play which just flew over the bar, missing the mark narrowly.

Dempo celebrated this escape with a great goal after Salgaocar defender Randeep Singh faltered with a mispass which went to Rohan Ricketts who took into his stride two of the Salgaocar defenders and created enough space for himself and then let loose a stiff grounder that had no answer from Salgaocar’s confident goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.

The goal which had a class written all over it, sent signals across the country that Ricketts is out to create ripples and that top defenders of the I-league clubs should better be prepared to face him in future outings.

After Salgaocar missed a couple of chances to score, they finally equalised in the 58th minute through Sean Rooney whose powerful header from a cross by defender Rahul Kumar from the right had no answer from the Dempo keeper.

The match then rose to great heights and if Salgaocar lost today, it was rather a painful defeat as they too matched the Dempo team equally well in all respects of the game. Had some of the tries that Salgaocar made been fruitful, the script of the game today could have been different altogether.

But that was not to be as Dempo scored the match-winner in the 84th minute when Ricketts sent a floater from the right to Ryuji Sueoka who strongly headed in to give victory to the Dempo team.

Speaking at the post match briefing, Dempo coach Armando Colaco while saying that the derby match is always difficult said his boys played well to win the match. He stated that even Salgaocar played well.

On the other hand, David Booth, the Salgaocar coach said that his team did well to defend at crucial moments and lacked professional instincts. How many times can we say that we did well and yet get punished for the mistakes ,the coach asked.