Captain Joaquim Abranches struck the only goal of the evening in the 22nd minute for Dempo Sports Club and it was enough to send FC Goa home empty in the Goa Football Association (GFA) Professional League at Duler stadium on Tuesday.

The Golden Eagles have 12 points from five matches, whereas FC Goa have four points from three outings.

Dempo SC started in right earnest, in a contest that had the winners enjoying the lion’s share of proceedings – except for the last ten minutes of the game which saw FC Goa on ascendancy – demonstrated the benefits of playing as a unit as they time and gain broke down the FC Goa attacks with numbers.

Dempo were all over the FC Goa territory for the first fifteen minutes of the game with Joaquim Abranches waiting to feed on the work of youngsters Aman Govekar and Rajat Harijan. When they failed, Shallum Pires – who had an outstanding game manning the defence – along with Nickson Castanha kept FC Goa’s Nestor Dias, Kapil Hoble and Christy Davis at bay.

Dempo SC broke the FC Goa defence in the 22nd minute through a corner taken by the team’s set piece specialist Nickson. The last named took a low corner which was flicked towards the goal by Alber for the attempt to be weakly cleared. The clearance landed at the feet of Joaquim who aimed his tap at goal for the first and only goal of the evening.

The early goal brought in some urgency in the FC Goa style of play and the team’s first attempt at the Dempo goal materialised in the 30th minute when Kapil Hoble sent in a cracker, which however hit the Dempo bar and bounced back into play to be cleared by the team’s defender.

Goaded by this failed attempt, the FC Goa lads pressed harder and tried to catch the Dempo players on a counter in the 41st minute when Lalawmpuia after getting the ball at the Dempo corner lobbed it towards the goal to Christy Davis whose header in was brilliantly saved by Dempo keeper Agnelo Gomes.

The second session began with a minor wobble for Dempo SC with captain Mathew Gonsalves having to leave due to a self injury sustained. This is the second time in the competition that Mathew had to leave the field of play. Edwin Viegas who came in his play helped the rest in keeping the FC Goa at bay.

FC Goa banked on Lalawmpui to do the scoring and Tuesday was definitely not his day with most of his attempts from missing the target. Kapil Hoble, who had a quiet first half, generated pace in the second but played as a creator of goals with a few long shots at goal and he nearly unsettled Dempo SC goalkeeper Agnelo with a shot that the latter failed to collect at the first attempt. Fortunately for Dempo, there was not FC Goa player to capitalise on the rebound.

FC Goa lunged forward in the dying minutes of the game with the Dempo lads preferring to hold back and play possession football. Aaren Dsilva who was brought in as substitute missed two clear chances in the dying minutes.

In the end, it was the football experience of Dempo that triumphed.