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Rediff.com  » Sports » Dempo take top place in NFL

Dempo take top place in NFL

April 08, 2007 21:33 IST

Two first-half strikes by Anthony Pereira and Samir Naik propelled Dempo to a 2-0 victory over Sporting Clube de Goa and to the top spot in the 11th ONGC National Football League.

Dempo are level with Mahindra United with 23 points from 12 matches, but head the table by virtue of a better goal difference.

Sporting Clube de Goa remain in sixth place with 14 points.

- National Football League coverage

Dempo's wing-back Naik was adjudged man of the match in the clash between Goa teams, at the Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa.

Dempo, who beat Sporting in the first leg of their clash, started in right earnest with Roberto Silva controlling the midfield along with Climax Lawerence. Silva tested rival 'keeper Luis Barretto with a fierce shot which the latter managed to kick out by diving to his right.

Dempo surged ahead in the 13th minute off a swift counter move. Ranty Martins, from the middle, relayed a pass to Lawerence, who sent a goal-mouth cross for Anthony Pereira, who slammed the ball into the net.

Two minutes later, Wilton Gomes nearly leveled the score off a free-kick for Sporting, but 'keeper Satish Kumar did well to push the ball out of danger.

Pereira had another opportunity to increase the lead, but the striker's shot deflected off 'keeper Baretto.

After this close shave Dempo swelled the lead in the 24th minute when a goalmouth cross by Naik from the left was accidentally headed by Sporting defender Bello Rasaq into his own goal.

Sporting, who found their rhythm in the closing stages of the first half, had the best chance to reduce the margin but Dudu Omagbemi, from the edge of the box, shot out after he was set up by Ernest Jeremiah.

After the lemon break, play was confined to midfield. Dempo came up with long rangers but first Ranty Martins' shot was collected by 'keeper Barretto and, later, Lawerence's shot missed the target narrowly at the other end.

Omagbemi had a chance to score in the latter part of the game but he directed his header wide off the mark.

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