Dempo Sail Into AWES Cup Final

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Dempo Sports Club registered a solitary goal victory over FC Pune City to move into the final of the 1st AWES Cup, organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons and Dempo Sports Club Juniors, at Duler Football Stadium, Mapusa, on Thursday.

Young midfielder Nestor Dias scored the only goal of the match in the fourth minute and Dempo then shut out Pune City’s developmental squad to move into the final. They will now meet the winners of the second semifinal between Salgaocar FC and Gokulam FC, Kerala, for the final showdown on Sunday.

Much was expected from FC Pune City who impressed in the league stages of the tournament. But the visitors hardly impressed in the knock-out clash and seemed to miss their captain Ashique Kurniyan who was sent off in the last minute of their previous clash.

Interestingly, Dempo registered their third victory on the trot with a similar margin. This time around though, Dempo scored an early goal and then never looked troubled.

Captain Nickson Castanha was the one who initiated the move that led to a corner-kick early in the game. Velito Cruz took the corner and Beevan D’Mello did well to flick the ball over the defence where Nestor was on hand to brilliantly volley home.

The goal took FC Pune City by surprise and they tried to fight their way back. Gani Nigam had a wonderful opportunity when he found space to head a good cross from Buanthanglun Samte but the striker headed wide from inside the danger zone.

Dempo too had their chances but could not keep their attempts on target.

In the second session, FC Pune City tried to bring in fresher players and reworked their strategy but the Dempo defence marshalled by Shallum Pires and veteran Mathew Gonsalves stood firm. Dempo also did well to throttle the Pune midfield, making it difficult for their midfielders to provide the ammunition for Nigam to fire.

With Pune pushing more men forward in the second session in the search for an equaliser, there were clear opportunities for Dempo. The home side should have inflated their lead but Beevan, Kapil Hoble and Yogesh Kadam all went close.