Dempo knock Pune City out to seal AWES Cup semi-final spot
Written by: Ravish R Narvekar
Mario Mascarenhas, Jessel and Latesh scored the goals for the Goans.
Dempo topped Group A with seven points and will face Sporting Clube de Goa on 11th September, while Salgaocar FC will lock horn against group B winners ONGC FC on 12th September.
The Golden Eagles made two changes to their side as coach Samir Naik included Mario Mascarenhas and Joaquim Abranches in the playing XI. Whereas, FC Pune City coach Miguel Angel Portugal continued to rotate his squad, as this time Spanish defensive midfielder Jonathan Vila, Ashutosh Mehta and keeper Debopriya Das were the new faces in the lineup. He also brought Rohit Kumar and Austrian defender Marko Stankovic back into the starting XI.
The Golden Eagles started the match on an attacking note and came close to scoring in the 11th minute, when Yogesh Kadam brilliantly found Jessel Carneiro with a cut-back, but the winger’s shot went just wide.
Dempo continued to penetrate their opposition's citadel at regular intervals and once again broke Pune's defensive line in the 37th minute, when Mario sent a curler to Abranches in the box, but the striker failed to convert an open header to put his side ahead. Two minutes later, Latesh Mandrekar tried his luck from the edge of the box, but Pune custodian Das collected it comfortably.
Dempo had a golden opportunity to surge ahead in the third minute of the second half, when Yogesh Kadam was brought down by Pune keeper Das in the box to give away a penalty. However, the custodian made a brilliant save to deny Naveen Mendes’ spot-kick.
However, Dempo opened their tally in the 56th minute, when Velito Cruz nicely curled the ball to Mario, whose header finished in the back of the nets making it 1-0 for the Goan side. There was no looking back for the Golden Eagles after the goal as they scored two more in the next 10 minutes.
Then, Pune keeper Das stepped out of the box with the ball in his hand to gift a free-kick to the rivals in the danger and Jessel's smart effort from the edge of the box gave no chance to the keeper making it 2-0. Latesh made it 3-0 in the 68th minute, when he made no mistake from the spot, after he was brought down by Rohit.
Pune managed to reduce the margin in the last quarter of the match, when substitute Martin Pena found an unmarked Jakob Vanlalhimpuia in front of goal. The midfielder made an easy tap-in to make it 3-1 for his side.
Published: Sun Sep 09, 2018 07:20 PM IST