Dempo Sports Club are back to where they belong — the I-League. After playing in the second division for a year, the Golden Eagles soared to the top riding on a brace by Milagres Gonsalves and a goal by Felix Chidi against Minerva FC in the concluding match of the Second Division I-League at Nehru stadium, Fatorda. The match ended 3-1 in favour of Dempo SC.
Dempo SC needed a draw to win the title. They started in the right earnest and went into the lead in the very 8th minute of play when hardworking and skilful attacking midfielder Mandar Rao Dessai sent a deep cross almost from the flag post to Milagres Gonsalves who stood right in the path of rival keeper Arshdeep Singh. No sooner did the ball come to him, Milagres lunged himself and sent the ball crashing into the nets with a strong header.
The early goal had a telling effect on the morale of the Minerva Academy FC team who could not pick themselves up from the stunning goal and as such Dempo SC dominated the proceedings through the first half of play, except on two counts when Minerva came up with counter forays, which were ineffective due to the very confident looking Dempo SC defence in which Mohamed Ali did exceptionally good. Goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani had not to exert at all as he had an easy day under the bar.
Dempo SC kept up the pressure after taking the lead and Felix almost scored but his shot ballooned over the bar off a neat pass from Mandar. Felix who looked lethal then made it 2-0 in Dempo SC’s favour when the match was hardly 12 minutes old.
Medio Peter Carvalho who moved up saw Felix lurking into the box and a quick pass saw Felix hitting a defender’s leg and as the ball rose high, Felix out jumped the other two defenders following him to head the ball into the nets.
Dempo SC then began to weave circles, dangerously moving all the while into the rival box wherein Mandar Rao Dessai was seen making darting runs and sending some cracking shots, which missed the target. On one occasion, Felix’s bicycle kick could have been a goal had it to enter the nets.
Just a minute after the thirty-minute mark, Milagres Gonsalves completed his brace following a one-two between him and Felix. Milagres made a dash for the ball into the box that was laid to him by Felix and sent a fine strike that beat the Minerva keeper again.
Minerva’s Manvir Singh made two valiant efforts but his tries were nowhere near the Dempo SC’s citadel.
Sitting pretty with a 3-0 lead in the first half, Dempo SC slacked the pace of the match in the second session as the celebrations for victory and promotion to the I-League had already begun.
Taking advantage of the situation, Minerva FC were seen attacking and finally pulled one goal back through Amandeep Singh whose top of the box shot off a pass from Simranjeet Singh gave no chance at all to Kattimani.