FOOTBALL / Bhawanipore FC records first win
Dempo Sports Club warded off a second-half threat from Mohammedan Sporting to clinch a semifinal place from Group D in the Federation Cup football championship at the MDSC Stadium here on Monday. The goalless draw ensured Dempo’s place at the top of the table on goal difference after both teams ended with seven points.
Arthur Papas’s side, which only needed to draw its final league match, set the pace in the first half.
The Goans showed more intent, had more ball possession and created more chances than their rival. Brazilian Roberto Mendes Silva controlled the play and twice put Romeo Fernandez in a position to score in the first half.
But, Romeo was found wanting in converting those chances. Narayan Das, too, had a crack at the Sporting goal in the 42nd minute when his pile-driver from 35 yards missed the mark by a few inches.
For a side needing a win to qualify, Sporting was initially subdued as its strike-force of Josimar Martins and Penn Orji was starved of supply. A long-ranger from Rakesh Masih in injury-time was the only shot it managed at the rival goal.
Though the Kolkata side eventually shrugged off its passiveness and went all out for a win, the Dempo defence proved impregnable and Sporting failed to convert even during its period of ascendancy.
Josimar missed a golden opportunity when he headed straight to goalkeeper Kattimani off Nabi’s cross in the 74th minute.
Earlier, in an inconsequential match, Bhawanipore FC defeated United Sikkim FC by a solitary goal to record its first win of the tournament.
Daniel Didemi scored an early goal and Bhawanipore clung on to its slender advantage despite Sikkim’s best efforts to draw level.
The goal arrived even before the Sikkim defence could settle down and off Bhawanipore’s first serious foray into the rival half.
Didemi had only the ’keeper to beat when he received a long ball from Anubrata Maity.
The Sikkim side strung together a series of threatening moves in both halves, but Bhawanipore’s defence was equal to the task.
The best chance for the Sikkim side came in the 70th minute when Oluwawunmi Adelja’s glancing header off a fine cross from Sanjay Chettri hit the bar and rebounded back into play.
Bhawanipore FC 1 (Daniel Didemi 4) bt United Sikkim FC 0.
Dempo 0 drew with Mohammedan Sporting 0.
Tuesday’s matches: Sporting Clube de Goa v Rangdajied FC; Kingfisher East Bengal v Bengaluru FC.
(Read as played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, goal difference, points)
Dempo Sports Club: 3, 2, 1, 0, 5, 1, +4, 7
Mohammedan Sporting Club: 3, 2, 1, 0, 4, 1, +3, 7
Bhawanipore FC: 3, 1, 0, 2, 2, 4, 4, -2, 3
United Sikkim FC: 3, 0, 0, 3, 1, 6, -5, 0