Dempo Win Inaugural AWES Cup

Monday, 18 September 2017

Dempo Sports Club won the inaugural edition of AWES Cup after edging out Gokulam FC (Kerala) 5-2 via the tiebreaker in the final at Duler Football Stadium, Mapusa, on Sunday.

The teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time.

Nigerian striker Adelaja Somide provided Gokulam with a 31st minute lead but Dempo clawed their way back and forced the match into tie-breaker, helped by an own goal by Gokulam defender Ugochukwu Godswill.

In the tiebreaker, Dempo converted all their tries through Beevan D’Mello, Naveen Mendes, Nickson Castanha and Joaquim Abranches. Gokulam scored their opening penalty kick through Ashik Usman but Arjun Jayaraj’s attempt was saved by Dempo goalkeeper Agnelo Gomes while Shinu S shot wide.

Dempo were richer by Rs 2 lakh while Gokulam had to settle for Rs 1 lakh.

The final battle between Dempo and Gokulam was an end-to-end affair with both teams eager to win their first silverware of the season. Gokulam got a good start when they surged ahead in the 31st minute through Adelaja. The Nigerian striker collected a pass from Usman and then brilliantly flicked the ball over a stranded Dempo goalkeeper, even as two defenders failed to close him down.

Gokulam suffered a setback when Adelaja, highest scorer of the tournament with six goals, had to be stretchered out after a tackle from Dempo’s Nickson Castanha. Adelaja’s replacement could never measure up to the challenge.

In the second session, Dempo were a transformed side and exerted tremendous pressure on their rivals. The former national champions finally succeeded in securing the equaliser when a cross from the right was turned into his own goal by Godswill, under pressure from Yogesh Kadam.

There were still 18 minutes left on the clock and both teams went close. Beevan D’Mello’s header struck the post and sailed wide while Gokulam were unlucky as Irshad TV saw his attempt hit the goalpost after a swift counter attack.

Sports minister Manohar Babu Azgaonkar was the chief guest and gave away the winners trophy. Also present were Goa’s former football greats Candido Abreu, Alisab Sadekar, Socorro Coutinho and Felix Barreto.

The tournament was organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons (AWES) in association with Dempo Sports Club Juniors and Goa Football Association.