Margao, May 2 (UNI) Medio M Ashoor's second-half goal enabled Oman's Al Nasr to edge out fighting Dempo Sports Club 1-0 and maintain their top position in Group''B'' in the AFC Cup football match played under floodlights at the Nehru Stadium Fatorda here today.
The all-important goal for Al Nasr came in the 54th minute and ultimately turned out to be the match winner.
With this win, Al Nasr have taken their points tally to 12 from four outings, while Dempo remained on the same one point from three outings.
The second best team in Group ''B'' will be decided between Dempo and Turkmenistan Merv on May 16 in Goa.
Dempo could have won outright had their forwards not faltered at crucial junctures and missed chances, especially in the first half.
Earlier in the first match, Mahindra United kept their hopes of to second round alive, defeating Lebanon's Al Ahed by 2-1 in Group 'A''.
Dempo made an aggressive start and had a complete sway over the proceedins in the first half and could have been up by at least two goals had they utilised their chances. But, their forwards were not quick in grasping the advantage.
The home team's forward Ishfaq Ahmod came up with a solo effort as early as in the 8th minute but his power-packed shot from close range was smartly blocked by Al Nasr goalkeeper Al Alawi and went for an abortive corner. Three minutes later, Johnny D'Cruz had an open chance to score with only the goalkeeper to beat. His feeble shot, however, was well saved by Al Alawi.
Then, in the 21st minute, Roberto Mendes Silva (Beto)'s header sailed over the bar off a pass from Clifford Miranda.
Dempo were almost in the lead in the 22nd minute but were further frustrated when Beto's power-packed left-footer from the top of the box hit the left goal post and rebounded into the play.
After a barren first half, Al Nasr played with renewed vigour and came with their only good move in the 54th minute and drew first blood through M Ashoor. The goal was result of a fine combined move when H Tabook passed to M Mubarak who, in quick succession, passed the ball to better-placed M Ashoor who shot into the net. 1-0.
Dempo had a chance to equalise in the 69th minute when Clifford Miranda sent a cross to Ishfaq whose attempted effort sailed over the bar.
Dempo made some desperate attemps for the equaliser towards close of the play, bringing in medio Lazrus Fernandes and forward Jouquim Ambraches. But, they failed to change the complexion of the game.
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