Salgaocar FC take on arch rivals Dempo SC in Federation Cup semis
Vasco: A mouth-watering clash is on the cards as traditional rivals Salgaocar FC and Dempo SC face-off in the first semi-final of the 36th edition of the Federation Cup at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margao at 4 pm.
Needing only a draw to secure qualification through to the knock-outs, the Greens wore down a resolute Pune side and eventually ran out 3-1 winners after demolishing Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan 4-1 in an earlier league match, finishing the group stage with 9 points from a possible 12. Dempo SC on the other hand, after a bright start, almost faltered in the final tie before scoring a late goal to finish on level terms with Royal Wahingdoh.
History in the Federation Cup would seem to favour Salgaocar as the Vasco based club have won the prestigious cup as many as 4 times against Dempo’s 1. In addition, the Greens have won the tournament as recently as 2011 as opposed to 2004 when Dempo emerged triumphant, although, the Golden Eagles did get close in 2012, losing out to East Bengal in the finals in extra time.
Salgaocar’s fans have particularly fond memories of an unstoppable Bruno Coutinho who silenced a full house at the Salt Lake Stadium to win the trophy in 1997 against Kolkata giants East Bengal. Coincidentally, it was the same opponents the Greens beat in the finals of the 2011 edition.
“Playing in the semi-final of the Federation Cup against arch rivals requires no added motivation. We know we are just one game away from the finals. The mood is upbeat and the boys are raring to go. We have improved with every passing game and are will look to carry our form from the last 2 matches into the game tomorrow. There are concerns with a couple of niggling injuries to Duffy and Francis but am hopeful of having the entire squad at my disposal come tomorrow morning”, remarked coach Derrick Pereira.
Salgaocar have had a great start to the season winning the first 2 titles on offer, the Goa Pro League and the Durand Cup. With the unassuming and soft-spoken Derrick Pereira however, who sets himself and the teams he has coached very high standards, past victories are strictly for the record books and have little significance ahead of the crucial tie. “It’s all about here and now that counts,” he signed off.