Nestor Dias was judged man-of-the-match for his brilliant performance in the Dempo’s midfield…
Dempo Sports Club defeated Gokulam Football Club via a penalty shoot-out (5-2) to clinch the first AWES Cup 2017, played at Duler Stadium earlier today (on Sunday). Both teams were tied 1-1 after the end of regular time.
It was a big day for Gokulam as they were the first club from Kerala to reach the finals on Goan soil. Earlier in the semifinals, they had defeated Goa Pro League champions Salgaocar FC to book their place. While Dempo had eliminated FC Pune City in the final four to reach the showpiece.
Gokulam coach Bino George made two changes from the last match as Ashik Usman and Arif Shaikh were back in the starting XI. Whereas, Mario was back in the Dempo’s first XI after missing the semifinals due to suspension.
The Golden Eagles started the match on an attacking note and took just three minutes to create the first chance. Mario Mascarenhas tried to find Kapil Hoble but Gokulam defender Sushant Mathew cleared it just in time to concede a corner. The very next minute, referee Anthony Simoes awarded a free-kick to the Goan side just outside the box but Velito’s attempt went wide.
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It was all Dempo in the first 15 minutes as they came up with more chances when Naveen Mendes found Kapil with a long cross from the halfway line but the winger saw his shot collected by keeper Hemanta Gosh. A minute later, Mario saw his powerful shot missing the target by few inches.
The next few minutes saw some momentum from the visitors to open their tally but none of their moves lasted long as Dempo defenders made no mistakes.
At the half-hour mark, Dempo once again came close to scoring when Beeavn D’Mello sent a perfect low cross to Yogesh Kadam in the box but the striker’s flick shot was easily collected by keeper Hemanta.
A minute later, Gokulam’s Nigerian striker Adelaja Somide silenced the fully-packed stadium’s home supporters when he drew the first blood for the Kerala club. The forward made a drifting run taking three defenders with him and finished the ball in the net with a brilliant chip shot over the advancing keeper Agnelo Gomes.
However, a few minutes after scoring a goal, the Nigerian frontman was replaced due to an unfortunate injury. The striker was roughly tackled by Dempo wing-back Nickson Castanha on the edge of the box when he had almost doubled the lead for Kerala club. Nickson was cautioned for his tackle.
Man of the match was young Dempo sensation Nestor Dias
Even after continuous dominant play with better possession and attacking football, Dempo had to go into the breather with a goal trail.
The start of the second session witnessed Gokulam’s Irshad V. head wide from close off Ashik’s corner. A few minutes later, Arif surprised Dempo keeper Agnelo with a quick shot from the top of the box but Agnelo collected it easily. In the next event, Irshad was unlucky again as this time he saw his shot hit the goal post and came back into play.
With just 15 minutes left on the match clock, Dempo found the equaliser when substitute Joaquim sent an excellent ball to Mario who cut past Gokulam’s most experienced defender Sushant and sent a clinical pass in the box but in the process of clearing the danger, Gokulam Nigerian defender Ugochukwu Godswill sent the ball in his on goal making it all square for the Golden Eagles.
A few minutes later, Beevan had almost put Dempo ahead when he headed in from inside the box to Joaquim’s perfect cross from the right but the ball hit the bottom corner keeping it all square.
Gokulam had another opportunity to get a lead when Irshad found Shihad with a superb cut-back pass but Dempo custodian Agnelo came up with a diving save to stop the striker’s shot from close. The match advanced to the shoot-out.
In the penalty shoot-out, Beevan, Naveen Mendes Nickson and Joaquim were on the target while Asik was the lone converter for Gokulam. Dempo keeper Agnelo excellently saved Arjun Jayaraj kick from the spot whereas Shinu S. shot wide.