Margao, Feb 17 (UNI) Bottom-Placed Salgaocar stunned table-topper Dempo with 1-1 draw in their penultimate round of the ONGC I League championship match, being played at Nehru stadium Fatorda, here today.
Both teams scored their respective goals in the first half. Joe Rodrigues scored in the 29th minute for Salgaocar, while Renty Martin equalised in the 37th minute for Dempo.
With this drawn match, Dempo and Churchill Brothers have tied with 33 points each from 17 outings, but Dempo topped the table with goal difference of plus 4. Salgaocar remained at the bottom with 11 points from equal number of outings.
Both teams need a win to claim the title in the last round match to be played on February 23. Dempo will meet Viva Kerala at Kerala, while Churchill are set to clash with Air India on home ground.
Such was the dominance of Dempo in both the halves that they could have romped home by at least three goals, but they failed to covert the chances that came before them, especially in the second half.
In a fast pace and evenly-balanced first half, Dempo came up with the first good move as early as in the first minute, with Cresan Antao hitting a floating pass to Roberto Mendes Silva (Beto) whose header sailed over the bar.
Three minutes later, Salgaocar had couple of good chances to move ahead in the 4th minute, when Fabio Posses sent an arial pass to Bonaface Ambani whose poor header landed straight into the hands of rival goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal.
Salgaocar's second chance came in the 8th minute. Stevan D'Mello made a pass to better-placed Shylo Malswama who could only beat the rival goalkeeper as the feeble shot was blocked by Mondal.
In the 18th minute of the first half, Dempo's defender Mahesh Gawali, who was injured after colliding with Agnelo Colaco, was replaced by Domnic Noronha.
Salgaocar surged ahead in the 29th minute through Joe Rodrigues who, after collecting a pass from Bivan D'Mello, unleashed a rasping 30 yarder shot, giving no chance to rival goalkeepr and found the net, to make it 1-0.
The lead was short-lived, as Dempo restored parity in the 37th minute through Renty Martin who, after recieving a well measured pass from Johnny D'Cruze, unleashed a powerpacked shot which found the net to level the score 1-1.
Dempo had another chance to increase their lead in the 38th minute when Nicolao Borgues initiated a move and passed to Renty Martin whose full-blooded shot from close range hit the cross bar and rebounded into the play.
After cross over, Dempo attacked vigorously and came up with three splendid opoortunites to increase their lead in the 53rd,75 th and 77th minute but faulter at a crucial juncture. In the 53rd minute, Edeh Chidi missed a chance off a pass from Roberto Mendes Silva. Then in the 75th minute, Chidi after collecting a pass from Johnny D'Cruz unleashed a shot which was smartly saved by Salgaocar goalkeeper Margues Basumatari and in the 77th minute Johnny D'Cruz sent a crossed pass from the right flank to Nicolau Borgues who wasted an easy chance.
Salgaocar's Joe Rodrigues was today adjudged the man of the match for his fine performance.
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