Relegation-threatened Dempo, Salgaocar compound woes with draw
Margao, May 20 (IANS)
Goan rivals Dempo SC and Salgaocar SC did themselves no favour when they played a 0-0 draw in an important I-League match here on Wednesday that might determine the fortunes of the two relegation-threatened clubs.
Four teams are precariously placed in the battle to beat the drop, with only a team set to go down this season from the competition.
After the 18th round of games, Salgaocar lie at the foot of the table with 18 points. After Wednesday's goalless draw, three other teams including Dempo, also have 18 points and are in the relegation battle.
Dempo, however, are at the ninth spot, two places above Salgaocar. Kalyani Baharat FC and Mumbai FC are the other two relegation-fighting teams, at the 10th and eighth spot respectively, with two rounds of matches left to play.
Dempo made three changes to their starting 11 for this game
Dempo and Salgaocar, both past champions of the tournament, have fallen into hard times this season. They have only won a handful of games and needed a win to lift them above each other in the standings, to give them some breathing space. Dempo coach Trevor James Morgan made three changes to the starting line-up at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Defender Nirmal Chettri returned from suspension and replaced the injured Debabrata Roy while defender Pronay Halder and forward Sushil Singh started in place of Lenny Rodrigues and Holicharan Narzary. Halder made his presence felt as he tested Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh into action with a strong shot in the 15th minute. Singh managed to beat the ball away to safety.
The proceedings took a while to get going but sprang into life with two scoring opportunities in the space of three minutes.
Midfielder Peter Carvalho came close to scoring with a 35 minute header but his effort went marginally wide of the left post. Two minutes later, Salgaocar medio Douhou Pierre shot wide from a favourable position. The two teams went into the break without scoring.
Dempo came out all guns blazing for the second half
Dempo emerged with greater purpose after the break and churned out couple of opportunities, just after the hour mark, only for Halder and striker Alwyn George to muffle up those opportunities.
Dempo increased their supremacy and created several opportunities as the match proceeded towards the final whistle.
Australian Striker Tolgay Ozbey was the principal figure in each of Dempo's attacking moves. But he missed all the chances that came his way, starkingly shooting wide from inside the box in added time.