Mohammedan Sporting 0
By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team,
MANJERI: Last year’s runners up Dempo SC reached the knockout stages of the Federation Cup for the second consecutive time courtesy superior goal difference as they played out a goalless draw against Mohammedan Sporting in a crunch Group D encounter here at the MDSC Stadium Monday (January 20, 2014).
While Mohammedan Sporting needed to win, a draw was enough for Dempo to assure a place in the last-four stage. Both the outfits finished on seven points from three matches with Dempo edging their counterparts by a single goal average.
Brazilian striker Josimar Da Silva capped a profligate night in front of goal for Mohammedan Sporting as he failed to convert a gilt-edged chance from Syed Rahim Nabi’s centre in the second half.
It was Dempo who dominated the first half. Mohammedan Sporting played with intent in the second period but luck was not in their favour.
In the third minute, Josimar Da Silva got the better of Dempo’s Haroon Amiri, but failed to send in a cross into the box.
The forward was once again in the thick of things a few minutes later, exchanging passes with Nigerian Penn Orji and claiming a corner kick which was tamely taken.
The match was only 15 minutes old when Jerry Zirsanga had to be substituted after picking up a knock, Coach Sanjoy Sen replacing him with former Indian International Ashim Biswas.
Dempo had more ball possession in the first half and could have converted had Jeje timed his run to perfection from Clifford Miranda’s teasing cross from inside the box in the 18th minute.
Romeo Fernandes too spurned a couple of half-chances off Roberto Mendes Silva (Beto)'s corner in the 14th minute and an inch-perfect diagonal ball from the Brazilian one minute later.
In the 26th minute, Pronay Halder unleashed a powerful left-footer that went just wide after a well taken Clifford Miranda flag kick was cleared only as far as the former.
Beto – who had impressed throughout the tournament – was at his usual best once again heckling the Mohammedan back-four of Dhanrajan, Luciano Sabrosa, Mehrajjudin Wadoo, and Nirmal Chhetri on numerous occasions.
On one such occasion he was brought down just outside the area by Rakesh Masih. The former Churchill Brothers man though skied his effort much to the disappointment of the packed crowd who were cheering his every move.
Just before the break, Masih’s ambitious shot from 35 yards out was collected well by Laxmikant Kattimani in the Dempo goal.
Mohammedan Sporting – who had to win in order to advance to the semifinal – upped the ante after the break. Penn was at the heart of it initially as he first let loose a rasping right-footer agonisingly wide off Nabi’s spadework and then failed to tap down Josimar’s headed put-through just in front of goal.
The best chance befell Josimar in the 74th minute. Nabi centred for the Brazilian from just outside the area but Josimar’s header at the near post was parried away to safety by an alert Kattimani.
That was that as Dempo sat deep and defended in the dying minutes of the match to ensure the script was in their favour at the final whistle.
Posted on : Monday January 20, 2014