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Dempo inch closer to NFL title
April 26, 2007 19:51 IST
Last Updated: April 26, 2007 20:51 IST
Dempo Sports Club of Goa inched closer towards claiming the 11th ONGC National Football League after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club in Margao, Goa, on Thursday.
Ranty Martins (9th minute) and Roberto Silva (71st) scored for Dempo, while Kuttymani pulled a goal back for the Bangalore club in the 43rd minute.
Dempo, who have played two matches more than defending champions Mahindra United, head the table with 32 points from 16 matches and are six points clear of second-placed Mahindra United [See League table].
HASC are at the bottom of the table, with 10 points from 16 matches.
Dempo's Clifford Miranda was named man of match.
Dempo, who had beaten HAL 3-1 in the first leg, took the lead through a penalty after defender Ragui Singh tripped Anthony Pereira from behind inside the box.
Ranty Martins converted the penalty, beating 'keeper Gumpe Rime to his left.
Dempo pushed HASC on the defensive with threatening moves from the flanks and had couple of chances to increase the lead but Anthony Pereira and Climax Lawrence were unable to connect crosses sent by Valerian Rebello and Jerry Sirsanga.
The Bangalore defended their citadel for most part of the first half but came up with couple of counter moves and equalised two minutes before the lemon break.
Following a flag kick, Rajendra Prasad floated the ball to Kuttymani, who headed it into the net.
Dempo continued to attack after the change of ends and Martins had an opportunity to regain the lead for his team in the 61st minute but fumbled. Later, a Roberto Silva free-kick hit the crossbar and went out.
Dempo had a close shave twice, with Murali threatening to score on both the occasions. First his shot was put out by defender Melvin Rodrigues and later his free-kick hit the post.
After these close shaves, home team regained the lead in the 63rd minute. Clifford Miranda sent a measured cross from the right inside the box to Roberto Silva, who made no mistake, heading the ball into the far corner of the net.