A Rowilson Rodrigues own goal was enough to give Sporting Goa a win over the reigning champions, but in truth the Flaming Oranje could have scored a few more...
While Debabrata Roy returned to partner Rowilson Rodrigues in defense, Japanese medio Ryuji Sueoka started for the Golden Eagles up front. John Menyongar was given to play the role of the creative playmaker in the side.
Meanwhile for their cross state rivals, Dawson Fernandes returned to the starting lineup while his strike partner, Seiya Sugishita was relegated to the bench. Angel Berlanga started in defense along with former India U-23 player Adil Khan.
Sporting started the better of the two sides with the trio of Juanfri, Ogba Kalu and Dawson each having half chances to open the scoring while Dempo could hardly maintain sustained possession in the opening exchanges atleast.
However it was Dempo who came close to scoring in the 17th minute when Sueoka's header from close range, off a Anthony Pereira cross from the right flank, was saved well by Sporting keeper, Bruno Colaco and was cleared by Berlanga before any Dempo player could pounce on the rebound.
The Flaming Oranje were quick to hit back with a chance of their own when Juanfri set-up Kalu, but Dempo keeper Laxmikant Kattimani had the shot well covered. Just moments before Juanfri had almost found out striker Dawson Fernandes with the perfect pass but was thwarted by the Dempo defense.
In the 23rd minute, Jovel Martins hit the side netting but he could have easily passed the ball to Dawson Fernandes who had made a run and would have had a shot at the open goal.
Sporting then suffered a set-back when Adil Khan had to be carried out on a stretcher in the 39th minute after having hurt his back while attempting to head the ball from a Dempo corner.
After play resumed, Dawson Fernandes sent a pass to Juanfri on the left, whose cross was unintentionally put into his own net by Dempo defender Rowilson Rodrigues to give Sporting an unlikely lead. Dempo custodian Kattimani had no chance as he was wrong footed.
It could have easily been 2-0 in the 57th minute when Dawson Fernandes' header from a Jovel Martins cross flew marginally wide of the top left corner.
Dempo could have capitalised from the let off, three minutes after the hour mark, when Menyongar dribbled past two orange shirts, including the goalkeeper, but his final shot was blocked by Freiman Peixoto on the goal line to preserve their slender advantage.
Sporting substitute Victorino Fernandes, who replaced Dawson in the 67th minute, headed Freiman's free-kick on target, but Dempo keeper Laxmikant Kattimani dived low to his right to effect a save in the 76th minute.
Seiya Sugishita, who was a late substitue, had a chance to finish off the game in the 90th minute, after being released by Kalu. The Japanese did ever so well, rounding the goalkeeper but Nicolau Borges' last ditch goal line block denied the chance.
With the win, Sporting Clube de Goa finally break their losing streak against the Golden Eagles. Meanwhile Dempo are almost out of the title race with yet another disappointing result.
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