Sporting Goa down Dempo to go on top of GPL
Written by: Ravish R Narvekar
Nigerian striker Abiola Afuwape scored the all-important goal for the Flaming Orange.
Dempo were in superb form as they had won all the matches, whereas, Sporting were also in a similar form, winning their last two matches against Salgaocar FC and Panjim Footballers.
Sporting started without their two of the key players as Cajetan Fernandes was out due to injury while Girsh Naik was suspended for back-to-back bookings in the last two matches. Glan Martins and U-20 Brandon Gomes replaced them in starting XI, while Alesh Sawant was also included in the starting XI by Sporting coach Mateus Costa. Whereas, Dempo gaffer Samir Naik fielded the same squad which earned him full points against Salgaocar.
After some attacking football from Sporting, they came close to scoring in the 14th minutes when Alsesh made an excellent cross to Marcus Mascarenhas in the box but the striker headed wide from close. Next two minutes witnessed two quick attacks from the same side but first Victorino Fernandes failed to control his header from 6-yards off Brandon’s cross from the right. A minute later Nigerian Abiola Afuwape headed on target to Alesh’s fine cross but this time Dempo keeper Agnelo Gomes made an excellent save to keep his side safe.
At the other end, Dempo also had a chance to take the lead when Beevan D’Mello came up with a fine cross from the right to find his teammate Mario Mascarenhas in the box but the defender saw his header missed the target by few inches.
Three minutes later, Victorino made a dangerous run taking opponent defender Mathew Gonsalves but failed to put power in his shot from the edge of the box as Dempo keeper Agnelo collected it comfortably.
Unlike in the first half, Dempo were the first to create a chance in the second session as Kapil Hoble sent a smart cross in the box but Beevan failed to reach it. A few minutes later, Victorino had the best chance to take his side on a lead when he was in the commanding position but shot wide from the top of the box.
At the hour mark, Sporting wasted two more opportunities to take the lead as first, Quan Gomes shot wide from inside the box after receiving a ball from George D’Souza, while a minute later Marcus saw his powerful shot brilliantly blocked by Dempo defender Shallum Pires. The ball later rolled to Quan whose shot hit another Dempo defender Mario and went out for a corner.
However, a very next minute, Flaming Orange surged ahead through Nigerian forward Abiola as the striker made an easy tap to Victorino’s unselfish diagonal pass making it 1-0 for Sporting.
Just before these, Dempo coach brought in Joaquim Abranches replacing Latesh Mandrekar upfront, who had the best chance to put the terms on level in the 68th minutes when Joaquim got hold of the long clearance in the box with just keeper to beat but the striker hit on the Sporting keeper Ozen Silva instead of directing it toward the goal.
Later with just three minutes left of the clock, Joaquim once again came up with a chance to find the equaliser as he brilliantly controlled the Nickson Castanha’s long cross in the box but failed to give justice to his outstanding first touch as he shot wide with just Sporting custodian at the stake.
With this win, Sporting go on the top with 10 points from four matches, whereas Dempo drop down to second with nine points from the same number of matches.
Published: Thu Nov 09, 2017 09:48 PM IST