Koko’s hat-trick seals Dempo semis berth

JAMSHEDPUR/SILIGURI: I-League champions Dempo Sports Club booked their ticket to the semi-finals of the Federation Cup after trouncing Mumbai FC 4-0 in the third round Group A match at Keenan Stadium here on Sunday.

A hat-trick from Koko Sakibo and a solitary goal from Clifford Miranda ensured the five-time National League champions a place in the last four of the second most important tournament of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) calendar.

While Miranda – who scored in every match so far – dodged the defender to glory after receiving a right to left pass from Koko inside the dreaded area, the latter drilled the ball past an ailing Sharath K for his first. Koko’s two similar goals late in the second period put the match beyond any doubt. The win enabled everyone to forget Ryuji Sueoka’s miss from the spot when the match was two minutes old.

Dempo finish top of the table with seven points from three matches while Lajong remain on three from that many matches.

Meanwhile, Pailan Arrows bowed out of the Federation Cup like a performer does after exhibiting a wonderful performance. The All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) developmental side finished their Group A engagements just behind qualifiers Dempo with five points from three matches. In their last encounter, they got the better of Shillong Lajong 2-1. Goals from Holicharan Narzary and Prabir Das sealed the win for Arrows. Ebi Sukore netted the only goal for Lajong.

Sporting Clube de Goa reaped the advantage of scoring early as they sneaked past a resurgent Kalighat Milan Sangha of Kolkata 3-2 in the second round Group C match at the Kanchanjungha Stadium in Siliguri.

Dawson Fernandes scored two including a penalty struck twice while Macroy Piexote found the net once as Sporting Clube established a 3-1 lead at half time. Nigerian Christopher Chizoba found the Sporting Clube net once in each session as Kalighat MS mounted a late challenge.

Looking for a win, after having held heavyweights East Bengal 1-1 in the first round of the group engagement, Sporting Clube gained early advantage when Macroy Piexote breached the Kalighat citadel in the 12th minute. Kalighat MS fought back and restored parity in the 36th minute when Christopher scored from a powerful long ranger.

Sporting Clube restored the lead soon after when Dawson scored from the spot in the 43rd minute after he was brought down inside the Kalighat box. Dawson got into the scoring act again within three minutes and found the back of the Kalighat net with an angular finishing. Sporting Clube reduced its attacking intent after the break allowing Kalighat to reduce the margin in the 72nd minute, when Chirstopher accomplished a solo effort.