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Bharat FC play out goalless draw against defensive Dempo SC

Bharat FC dominated but could not convert their chances, as a defensive Dempo held them to a goalless draw.

Bharat FC's Boco passes to a teammate as Dempo SC's Cardozo looks on

An enterprising Bharat FC were held to a frustrating goalless draw against a defensive Dempo SC outfit at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda-Goa on Friday night.

The Hero I-League round 13 encounter was devoid of clear cut chances as Dempo SC preferred to play deep and trying to catch Bharat FC on the counter-attack. The draw leaves Bharat FC in eighth spot in the Hero I-League table with 10 points from their nine games. Dempo SC are a place below the Lions having accumulated nine points from ten games.

With the temperature touching 37 degrees and climbing humidity, the game did not really spring to life right from the beginning. In the tenth minute, Asif Kottayil, on debut for Bharat FC, whipped in a long ball from the center of midfield into the Dempo SC box.

Bharat FC’s New Zealand international, Kris Bright seemed to time his run to perfection but Dempo SC’s Calum Angus got the faintest of touches on the ball, taking it away from a lurking Bright. 

A couple of minutes later, Lenny Rodrigues found a yard of space 20 yards from the Bharat FC box. The midfielder’s well-struck drive evaded a lunging Ravanan but Bharat FC’s goalkeeper, Arindam Bhattacharya, had positioned himself expertly and claimed a simple catch. Arindam once again gave a measure of his confidence as he expertly judged a loopy Clifford Miranda free-kick, catching the ball high over the advancing attackers. 

Bharat FC’s biggest chance arrived in the 26th minute as Mehrajuddin Wadoo, the right-back, released Steven Dias further up field. The crafty Dias took a couple of touches before delivering an inch-perfect ball into the center of the Dempo SC box.

Once again, Kris Bright did well to set off on his run at just the right time. Arriving in the box, the striker’s header seemed headed for the bottom-right corner only for Laxmikant Kattimani to scramble across and get fingertips on the ball, diverting it wide of the far-post. 

In the 43rd minute, Lester Fernandez who combined well with Romuald Boco and Syed Rahim Nabi on the left sent in a teasing cross. A slight misunderstanding between Bright and G Vignesh allowed the Dempo SC defense to recover as the duo hesitated for a moment. 

The second half saw Dempo SC carve out a few chances but Arindam Bhattacharya’s spectacular shot-stopping seemed to keep Bharat FC alive. In the 57th minute, Joy Ferrao was released by Alwyn George and the striker only had Arindam to beat.

The 25-year-old goalkeeper though, seemed to delay committing himself till the last minute, pushing Ferrao wide and closing down the angle before parrying the ball to safety. 

In the 80th minute, Lenny Rodrigues received a through-pass from Ferrao but the midfielder’s powerful effort was kept out by a diving Arindam, who managed to clear the ball with his legs. 

A Lester Fernandez corner in the 92nd minute caused confusion in the Dempo SC defense and Gouramangi Singh’s header back into the box allowed Subash Singh a snapshot but Fulgencio Cardozo effected a block, ensuring a goalless draw.

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