Dempo SC had already lifted their fifth I-League title after their last encounter against Kingfisher East Bengal,where they held the red-gold brigade to a goal-less draw. Thus yesterday’s match against Prayag United at the Salt Lake Stadium was a formality for Dempo. However the I-League champions ended their campaign on a strong note, and Armando Colaso’s boys did it well by beating Prayag United 3-0 with goals from Ranti Martins (18′), Climax Lawrence (31′) and Koko Sakibo (87′ ).
Though Sanjoy Sen’s Prayag United had upset the league champions in the first encounter, this time Dempo took a sweet revenge of that loss. Interestingly, the Prayag team gave Dempo a guard of honour as they had already clinched the I-League crown last week.
Dempo started the match like league champions as Ranti Martins put them in front, beating Abhijit Mondal easily from close range, in the 18th minute.
In the 31st minute, Climax Lawrence doubled the lead and Koko Sakibo scored his first and the team’s third, late in the 87th minute.
Dempo SC finished their campaign with 57 points from 26 matches while Prayag United finished on 42 points from 26 matches. West Bengal’s Sports Minister, Mr. Madan Mitra and Mr. Kushal Das, General Secretary, All India Football Federation handed the Champions Trophy to Dempo SC.
On the other hand, a lonely goal by Edmilson Marques close to the half hour mark gave East Bengal the win against Air India in a dull I-League encounter at the Balewadi stadium in Pune on Saturday.
The match started as a tight affair, as both teams knew each other’s weaknesses. But as the day progressed, East Bengal slowly started taking control of the match and Tolgay Ozbey, in particular, looked outstanding.
In the 25th minute, Robin Singh got a good opportunity to put the team ahead at the edge of the box, but his shot was just wide of the goal. However, in the 27th minute, Tolgay Ozbey found himself in a promising position and picked out Edmilson with a square pass, who made no mistake in putting the ball in the back of the net.
The match failed to take-off in the second half, as neither side showed creativity in possession and at several instances, it looked like a practice match.
Towards the end though, Air India tried to exert some more pressure on the away side’s defense, but Uga Okpara and Raju Gaikwad stood tall in East Bengal’s defense. With this win, East put themselves in the second position in the I-league standings.