Sueoka scripts Dempo win

MARGAO: Dempo Sports Club began their I-League campaign in style, with Japanese striker Ryuji Sueoka scoring both the goals to fashion a 2-1 win against Churchill Brothers in the opening round at Nehru stadium, Fatorda-Margao on Saturday.

Sueoka scored in the very second minute of the match and then added another one in the 75th minute to seal Dempo’s victory. Brazilian recruit Roberto Silva (Beto) had earlier equalised for Churchill Brothers in the 47th minute.

"The first game is always difficult when two rivals play," said Dempo coach Armando Colaco during the post-match briefing. Armando added that the second half belonged to his team and that the two substitutions he made in bringing Koko and Joaquim Abranches changed the complexion of the game, helping his team to play better in the second half. On his club’s new English signing Rohan Ricketts, Armando said: "Ricketts is a class player and he will need some time in settling down."

On the other hand, Churchill Brothers coach Mariano Dias felt that his team created a lot of moves and deserved at least a draw if not a win. He opined that his team could have won by at least three goals had luck been with them and had his strikers not missed their chances.

Hardly had the teams settled down after kick off, Dempo surged ahead in just two minutes. Midfielder Clifford Miranda worked his way down the left flank and lobbed the ball at Churchill Brothers’ goalmouth where the entire defence was caught napping and Ryuji Sueoka was lurking close by and had no difficulty in tapping the ball into the nets to give Dempo the lead.

The match was then played almost on equal footing but the last 15 minutes of the first session did belong to Churchill Brothers to a great extent so much so that they brought in tremendous pressure which created some good scoring chances.

First a deep cross from Stephen Dias dangerously travelled to Beto whose powerful header just missed the mark narrowly. This happened in the 32nd minute.

Five minutes later, Churchill Brothers were again camping in the Dempo box with some meticulous moves and it was Stephen again who sent a cross to Bilal Najjarine who was seen heading almost accurately but Dempo keeper Subasish Roy Chowdhury managed to punch the ball and as it travelled, it kissed the upright and went out for an abortive corner.

Just a minute before the break, Churchill Brothers came very close to restoring parity. Moving swiftly, medio Lenny Rodrigues beat some Dempo defenders with a deft pass and Beto essayed a fine shot which just whisked past the left post, creating a real scare for the Dempo keeper.

Churchill restored parity in the 2nd minute of the second half. Striker Henri Antchouet raced down the right flank and then squared the ball to Tomba Singh whose hard effort was parried away by Dempo keeper Subasish. But as he did that, the ball travelled to Beto who wasted no time in slamming it in to be on level terms.

The Dempo coach then introduced Koko Sakibo and Joaquim Abranches who replaced Clifford Miranda and Rohan Ricketts respectively. Medio Anthony Pereira crossed the ball to Ruyji Sueoka who scored a beautiful goal giving no chance at all to Churchill Brothers’ keeper Sandip Nandy. Dempo had a couple of chances to increase their tally but missed out on easy sitters.