By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
Dempo 2 (Clifford Miranda – 13th Romeo Fernandes – 31st)
Mumbai FC 0
MARGAO: Dempo SC stormed into the semifinals for the second straight year as they swept aside Mumbai FC 2-0 in a Group A tie here at Fatorda’s Nehru Stadium on Monday (January 5, 2015).
First-half strikes from India International Clifford Miranda and the impressive Romeo Fernandes made sure the Dempo juggernaut kept rolling as Arthur Papas’s wards made short work of Mumbai FC who needed to win this match to stay in the hunt, without the services of talisman Tolgay Ozbey who was not even named on the bench.
Former India full-back and Dempo veteran Samik Naik was given a start along with Holicharan Narzary as a brazen Papas tinkered a lot with his side which also saw India youth player Shallum Pires get a feel of things in the second half apart from India attacking midfielder Alwyn George.
Courtesy the result, Dempo made semifinals with a match in hand while Khalid Jamil’s Mumbai FC bowed out of the competition finishing their group matches with four points from as many matches.
Whoever wins Tuesday’s crunch tie between East Bengal (4) and Sporting Clube de Goa (3) will join Dempo in the last-four stage. The other team in the open group, Royal Wahingdoh, can leapfrog others to make the cut only if they can beat Dempo and hope that Sporting and East Bengal play out a stalemate.
Coming to the match, it took the team to beat of the tourney 13 minutes to surge ahead. Romeo’s corner was aimed Holicharan – seamlessly slipping into Tolgay’s shoes – who mistimed his shot with the ball falling to an unmarked Clifford who had the easiest of tasks of nodding the ball into the back of the net. It was once-way traffic all the way and Dempo soon after doubled their tally.
Holicharan did all spadework to find India midfielder Lenny Rodrigues whose shot came off a rival defender to fall favourably in the path of Romeo who slammed the ball into the back of the net without any trouble.
Mumbai FC tried hard to come back into the game after the break but fell short with their best two chances coming in the last five minutes when first substitute Reisangmi Vashum acrobatically volleyed goalwards only to be denied by an in-form Laxmikant Kattimani in Dempo goal, and minutes later Sampath Kuttymani’s snapshot with the outside of his right foot flew inches wide.
Posted on : Monday January 05, 2015