Margao: Kalu Ogba late goal helped Dempo to snatch a point from Viva Kerala after the match ended in a 3-3 draw in the 21st round of the I-league played at Nehru Stadium on Friday.
Dempo started aggressively with quick short passes and had the visitors on the floor with two early goals, but allowed the visitors to dictate terms as they tended to relax after leading and conceded a goal largely through the error on
the part of keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.
The keeper was found shaky throughout the match as he fumbled to collect the ball and conceded an easy goal in the first half which helped the rivals to claw back and take a lead in the second half before Kalu Ogba saved the day for the defending champions back heeling a firm free kick from Roberto Silva from top of the box into the net from close.
Dempo made their intention clear from the start with defender Debabrata Roy who in a swift move with Roberto Silva scored the first goal in the 5th minute.
Two minutes later, Dempo increased the lead when Ranty Martins collected a long pass from Debrabrata roy, eluded defender Charles Dzisah before dispatching the ball into the net.
After the 2-0 cushion, Dempo went into their shell, allowing the visitors to dictate terms and conceded a goal when Keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury allowed the ball to slip from his hands with no one to challenge, a cross from the right from Sabeeth C S and Anil Kumar who was in front of him tapped the ball into the net.
Play was stopped for about four minutes in the first half after Referee Andrew Shekar had to summon an ambulance along with the doctor to attend to Viva Kerala keeper Sharath K who received a hard knock from Ranty Martins while going for an aerial ball.
Sharath was later replaced by Shahinlal Meloly in the later part of the second half after he felt guidy from the knock.
Dempo who play their AFC tie at home on April 12 did not exert themselves in the second half allowing the rival to equalise in the 66th minute when Karma T came with a counter move and relayed the ball to Man of the Match N D Pradeep inside the box who guided the ball into the net with keeper Chowdhury beaten all ends.
The goal spurred Viva Kerala who put the pressure on Dempo and defender Charles Dzisah who saw his effort saved by the keeper earlier headed in the ball off a flag kick taken by N D Pradeep.
But Dempo fought back and found the equaliser in the dying minute when Kalu Ogba back heeled the ball into the net from close off a stiff grounder taken by Roberto Silva from a free kick taken from the right.
Dempo who remained on fourth place, now have 38 points from 19 matches while Viva Kerala who are on 11th place took their tally to 19 points from 21 matches.
Referee Andrew Shekar showed yellow card to Viva Kerala’ s Bello Rasaq, Sabeeth C S and Dempo Valeriano Rebello.