A host of ISL players were on show as eight time Federation cup champions East Bengal took on last edition’s semifinalists Dempo SC at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao. Having gone behind late in the first half, Armando Colaco’s coached East Bengal team failed to rally and find a way to put the ball past Dempo Custodian Laxmikant Kattimani.
Armando Colaco names strong XI
Former Indian Football coach Armando Colaco had the luxury of picking a full strength squad courtesy of his his side being completely fit. Fresh from the ISL were goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdury, Arnab Mondal and Mehtab Hossain. However, the talented Lalrindika Ralte and impressive Baljit Sahni found their places on the bench along with Abhishek Das and Mohammed Rafique. New signings Ranti Martins and marquee player Leo Bertos were handed their debut.
Dempo’s Australian manager Arthur Papas too welcomed players from the Hero ISL. Ten of his starting XI featured in the ISL, with Tolgay Ozbey, Raju Gaikwad,Romeo Fernandes and Lenny Rodrigues being the most notable.
Both teams start tentatively
Having not played together for a while, both teams began the first half of the fixture rather tentatively, with both sides looking to defend and settle into the fixture. Surprisingly, the first chance of the game was created only after 20 minutes on the clock, with Tolgay Ozbey and Romeo Fernandes of Dempo SC creating all sorts of problems for East Bengal center backs Raju Gaikwad and Milan Susak, and thereby giving the Fatorda crowd something to cheer.
Cavin Lobo of East Bengal was booked as a result of the Dempo build up. Nigerian forward Dudu Omagbemi came close to scoring, but a chance was wasted as goalkeeper Kattimani gathered the try with considerable ease. A rare lapse in concentration at the heart of the East Bengal defence was perhaps the telling point of the match. Such was the consequence of the mistake, that it allowed Romeo Fernandes to find a way past an otherwise impressive Subhasish Roy Chowdury
Dempo try to put the game to bed
The quote, ” Attack is the best form of defence”, was further reinforced by Arthur Papas’ side in the second half. The Golden Eagles continued to dominate proceedings with chances coming up for both former East Bengal player Tolgay Ozbey and Romeo Fernandes, leaving the Red and Gold Brigade defensive and midfield unit in absolute shambles.
With East Bengal relying on the odd chances, Ranti Marins and the much fancied Leo Bertos failed to capitalize, giving coach Armando Colaco no option but to thrown on trump card- Lalrindika Ralte. Despite his pace and step overs, Ralte failed to influence proceedings. A bit of luck coupled with yet another series of acrobatics on the goal line courtesy of Subhasish Roy Chowdury prevented a scoreline of more than 1-0.
Having been pitted the favorites to regain the trophy for the 9th time in their history, the Green and Gold Brigade (East Bengal) have begun with a disappointing 1-0 loss to Dempo. It is clear where the problem lies for the Kolkata based side, however, Colaco will have little time to rectify that as his side square off against Royal Wahingdoh on the 31st of December. With the latter overcoming a strong Mumbai outfit on the opening day of the tournament, it would certainly be wise not to take them lightly.
As for the Golden Eagles, they find themselves in a Goa derby against Sporting Clude de Goa on New Year’s day. A feisty encounter is almost guaranteed as the two will be playing in front of home support. However, Arthur Papas’ men will definitely be high on confidence following their victory today against much fancied East Bengal. However, as we know, everything changes in a derby match, and it is safe to assume that it is one thing that Arthur Papas will do his homework for this tie.