Margao, Nov 24 (UNI) Riding on a fine brace by Nigerian Edeh Chidi, defending champions Dempo Sports Club began their campaign in style with an emphatic 3-0 victory over former champions Salgaocar Sports Club in the inaugural AIFF Professional I-League match played at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, today.
Edeh Chidi in the 3rd and 24th minutes and Renti Martin in the 67th minute scored for Dempo.
Dempo, who started in a whirlwind fashion, shot into the lead as early as in the 3rd minute through Edeh Chidi, when Salgaocar defender Nicolau Colaco, attempted to clear the ball. But, Dempo forward Renti Martin pounced upon the weak shot and passed the ball to better-placed Chidi who banged it into the net to make it 1-0.
Inspired by an early lead, Dempo continued to attack and increased their lead in the 24th minute again through Edeh Chidi (his brace). The goal was a result of fine combined move when Nicolau Borgues passed to Renti Martin, who in quick succession, switched the ball to Edeh Chidi who made it 2-0.
Salgaocar had a chance to reduce the margin in the 37th minute of the first half but Anil Kumar missed a sitter before him. In the counter attack, Dempo too had a chance to increase their lead.
Edeh, who had only to beat the rival goalkeeper in front, did not have a clear look at the goal and shot wide. At half time, Dempo were leading 2-0.
After the changeover, Dempo continued their upper hand and could have further consolidated their lead in the 55th minute had not Salgaocar goalkeer Milagrio Medeira brought a fine save off a good attempt by Dempo's Valerian Rebello.
Dempo pumped in one more goal through Renti Martin in the 67th minute off a well-measured pass by Anthony Pereira from the right flank to make it 3-0.
Dempo could have further increased their lead in the 69th minute but Roberto Mendes d Silva (Beto)'s powerpacked shot hit the left goal post and went waste. It was a good pass from Renty Martin.
Salgaocar made some desperate attempts to reduce the margin and came near scoring in the 80th minute but Malswamtunga's attempted shot sailed over the bar off a pass received from Anil Kumar.
Dempo's defender Mahesh Gawali was today adjudged the man of the match.
Earlier, the championship was inagurated by film star John Abraham in the presence of Union Minister for Information and Broacasting Priya Ranjan Dashmunshi, who is also the AIFF president, and Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat.