Dempo to play home matches of AFC Cup in Pune

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Panaji, Feb 22(PTI) Due to non-availability offloodlights at the Nehru Stadium in Margao, Dempo has beenleft with no option but to shift all their AFC Cup homematches to Pune.

The Asian Football Confederation(AFC) has made itcompulsory that clubs playing, even in the group stages ofAFC Cup, should host matches under floodlights.

The Goa government had promised that floodlights would beinstalled at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, but things havefailed to materialised, and Dempo once again have to playtheir home ties away from Goa, team sources said.

I-League champions Dempo will play their first matchof the 2011 AFC Cup against Yemen''s Al Tilal on March 1 atShiv Chhatrapati Stadium in Balewadi, Pune.

In 2008, during which Dempo made history by becoming thefirst Indian club to make it to the semi-finals of the AFCCup, they played their knockout matches of the saidtournament in Hyderabad.

Dempo, who returned home yesterday after suffering a 0-2defeat to Qatar''s Al Sadd in their AFC Champions leagueplay-off match, will now focus on excelling in the second-tiertournament.

Dempo have been the flag bearer of Indian football atAFC events for the past few years, having twice played in theAFC Championships League play-off.

Following is Dempo''s AFC Cup fixtures:

March 1 - Dempo v/s Al Tilal (Yemen) - Pune, March 15 -Al Ansar(LIB) v/s - Dempo (Lebanon), April 12 - Dempo v/sNasaf(UZB) - Pune, April 27 - Nasaf (UZB) v/s Dempo -Uzbekistan, May 4 - Al Tilal (Yem) v/s Dempo - Yemen, May 11 -Dempo v/s Al Ansar (LIB) - Pune.

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