SPORT

Dempo in semifinals

BANGALORE, NOV. 29. A streak of indecisiveness by Marc Mascarenhas in the Churchill Brothers goal was all that Dempo, also from Goa, needed to squeak through to the semifinals of the 26th Federation Cup football tournament on Monday.

Brazilian striker Cristiano Junior seized the opportunity to jab home the lone goal and set up a last four clash with Kolkata's Tollygunge Agragami on December 3.

There was little to choose between the two sides, both having played each other umpteen times at the local and National level, to let any weaknesses show.

Though a couple of pot shots materialised, the first half was largely confined to the midfield.

Junior, who scored 15 goals for East Bengal in the last edition of the National Football League, failed to break the shackles that the Churchill stoppers, Osman Husseini and Ryan D' Souza, had over him.

However in the 79th minute, the Brazilian brooked no resistance. A floater from substitute Mario Soares found Nigerian Ronty Martins in front of the goal. Ronty's shot was stopped but not collected by Mascarenhas and Junior, spotting an opportunity, jabbed it home to the delight of his supporters and team-mates.

Mascarenhas tested

Soon after, Martins tested Mascarenhas with a stiff essay but the goalkeeper was equal to the task. Mascarenhas twice in succession did well to parry a Samir Naik crack volley and recovered soon enough to gather Junior's shot off the rebound.

Dempo, which finished runner-up in the Goa league, has three days to restructure its gameplan to counter the attacking instincts of Tollygunge Agragami in the semifinals.

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