Dempo SC win I-League title | sports | Hindustan Times
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Dempo SC win I-League title

It took a Herculean effort from Dempo to win their second I-League and overall fourth national league title in six seasons, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

sports Updated: May 09, 2010 23:30 IST
Somshuvra Laha

It took a Herculean effort from Dempo to win their second I-League and overall fourth national league title in six seasons, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday. Armando Colaco’s boys needed to play out of their skins to thwart a fervent Lajong FC on a pitch that looked treacherous to say the least.

If relief swept Dempo at the end of an artless game, it was because a defeat would have forced them to go home and face Pune FC to earn a solitary point. For the first 40 minutes, Lajong looked capable of pulling the rabbit out of the hat, just like they had done against Mahindra United and East Bengal.

Dempo, used to playing free-flowing football, found it hard to adjust to the bouncy and deceptive pitch that had Ranty Martins and Roberto Silva (Beto) struggling to control the ball. Their predicament was compounded when Climax Lawrence had to be supplanted in the 18th minute after the midfielder suffered a nasty fall.

But the Goa club never missed Lawrence’s presence as Peter Carvalho took to the job with aplomb.

Lajong FC, perilously close to relegation, dished out fancy football, but never got the opener, despite holding possession for most of the first half. They paid for their profligacy when around the halfway mark, Martins latched onto a loose ball after Seikhohau Tuboi’s throw-in was negated to start a long run down the right flank.

Seeing a Lajong defender approaching, Martins passed it on to Anthony Pereira who was running parallel to him. Pereira unleashed a diagonal shot that beat the outstretched hands of Lajong custodian Gumpe Rime.

Lajong threatened to stage a comeback in the second half but the Dempo defence stood tall to deny them an equaliser.