Duler: In a game of two half’s, the first which belonged to Sporting Clube de Goa where they scored two goals and the second that was Dempo Sports Club where they were denied two clear penalties by referee Prasad Surlakar saw the former beat the latter by two goals in the Goa Professional League at Duler stadium on Tuesday.
Though Dempo started the match on attacking note, it was Sporting who created the first flutter in the 10th minute as George D’Souza sent a long free kick to skipper Marcus Mascarenhas in the box but the forward headed over the crossbar.
The match saw the winners dictating terms in the first session with Stendly Fernandes playing as a silent predator whilst Dempo’s U-20 player Rajat Harijan was the star for the losers. Rajat covered a lot of space in the second half and showed courage advancing forward or when tackling his opponents.
George was at it again, a few minutes later, with another powerful free kick from 40 yards, but this time Dempo keeper Agnelo Gomes, instead of collecting the ball, punched it and the rebound was tapped in by unmarked Philip Odagwu to give Sporting the lead.
Sporting almost doubled the lead in the 23rd minutes when U-20 Dattaraj made a perfect through-pass to Philip who covered some ground and tried his luck from the top of the box but his powerful strike rebounded off the goalpost.
A moment later, George sent another masterpiece in the box but this time unmarked Philip and Alton Vaz failed to capitalise on an easy chance.
Dempo came close to equalising in the 26th minute as Shallum Pires sent along free kick in the box but Joaquim Abranches’ header went over the crossbar.
After probing attacks, Sporting managed to double their lead in the next minute as Stendly Fernandes cut past few opponents at the top of the box and on seeing Dempo keeper out of his mark, took a shot from 30 yards which looped into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
As the match progressed, Dempo suffered a double blow as their centre-back Mathew Gonsalves and left-back Shubham were injured and coach Samir Naik replaced them with Edwin Viegas and Suraj Hadkonkar.
The Golden Eagles had the best chance in the 41st minute when Suraj nicely chested down Nickson Castanha’s lob pass but his strike missed the target narrowly. A few minutes later, they had another opportunity to reduce the margin when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box but Sporting keeper Melroy made a diving save to push Nickson’s goal bound free kick for a corner.
Sporting also made one change at the half time as injured Marcus was replaced by Sachidanand Satelkar. Whereas, Dempo coach Samir brought in Beevan D’Mello to replace U-20 striker Aman Govekar in the early second session.
Sporting keeper Melroy made another breathtaking save in the 61st minute as Nickson’s goal-bound strike was nicely fisted over the crossbar by the custodian to keep his side safe.
At the other end, substitute Sachidanand had the best chance to extend their lead but the winger shot wide from the top of the box.
Down by two goals, Dempo attacked relentlessly and should have been awarded a penalty in the 68th minute when Pedro Gonsalves’ cross was handled by George in the box but referee Prasad Surlakar overlooked the situation. Instead, he cautioned Dempo medio Velito Cruz for appealing.
A few minutes later, Dempo came up with another swift attack as Suraj fed Joaquim in the box with a cross but the forward’s strike was nicely blocked by keeper Melroy and Beevan who got the rebound but could not beat Sporting keeper Melroy in a one-on-one situation.
Referee Prasad played the twelfth man for Sporting Clube de Goa when Sporting defender George clearly pushed Joaquim in the box but the referee overlooked the situation.
Dempo continued their attacks on their rivals but could not manage to find the net. On one such occasion, Nickson’s cross was smartly headed by Beevan but Sporting keeper Melroy punched it for a corner.
Dempo forward Joaquim missed a sitter during added time as Shallum found him with a fine cross from the left flank but the unmarked forward failed to head the ball home from close.