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Rediff.com  » Sports » Dempo, JCT atop I-League after four rounds

Dempo, JCT atop I-League after four rounds

December 12, 2007 08:51 IST

Last season's top two teams -- Dempo Sports Club and JCT -- again find themselves atop the I-League football championship points table after four rounds of matches.

The team from Punjab thrashed Churchill Brothers 3-0 in Ludhiana to hand them their second successive defeat in the campaign.

Brazilian Marcos Pereira, Nigerian Abdul Latif Seriki and India international Sunil Chetri came to the party in the second half to take their team's tally to 10 points.

Dempo scored a late equaliser through Brazilian Roberto Mendes Silva to salvage a 2-2 against visitors East Bengal which ended their 100 per cent record so far but kept them in joint lead nevertheless.

The Goans had to come from behind twice as East Bengal took the lead first through M M Mukasi and, after it was neutralised by Valeriano Rebello, Brazilian Edmilson Marques.

Silva, nicknamed 'Beto,' levelled scores when only four minutes were left in regulation time.

East Bengal are now third with seven points from four matches and happy with the points as they are plagued with injuries to key players, including defenders M Suresh and Surkumar Singh.

The match was supervised by referee Ali Saleem of the Maldives after All India Football Federation sought the services of two officials from the island nation for a few I-League encounters.

Elsewhere, Mohun Bagan secured their first win of the campaign as a Bhaichung Bhutia brace brought a 2-0 victory over Air India in Kolkata.

It was the first defeat for the team from Mumbai after they had drawn their first three matches.

The result would have given some relief to the Kolkata giants who endured a nightmare start to the league with two consecutive defeats.

However, Mumbai powerhouse Mahindra United are still to taste victory and were held to a goalless draw by Viva Kerala at the Cooperage ground in Mumbai.

Mahindra, the Durand and Federation Cup finalists failed to make their superior pedigree tell and could not beat rival custodian M V Nelson.

Derrick Pereira's outfit still have only three points from four matches while Viva Kerala, who upset Mohun Bagan earlier in the campaign, have five.

Goan rivals Sporting Clube de Goa and Salgaocar Sports Club played out a 1-1 draw.

Milagres Gonsalves put Salgaocar ahead while Elijah Obagbemiro restored parity for Sporting to leave both teams at the bottom of the pile with two points each.

Bagan have a tough assignment in the next round as they take on joint league leaders Dempo in Goa tomorrow while JCT will hope to garner full points from their trip to Mumbai to take on Air India.

Third-placed East Bengal will try to inflict a third straight defeat on Churchill Brothers, who would like to get back on track after losses to Dempo and JCT.

Sporting and Mahindra face off in Goa and one of them will have a chance for their first victory.

Viva Kerala hosts Salgaocar in their fifth match of the campaign.