Margao: Dempo were today virtually crowned as
I-League champions after they scored a emphatic 2-0 win over
Air India in the 24th round match at Nehru stadium here today.
In a match they dominated completely, Dempo scored
through Joaquim Abranches (63rd) and Ranty Martins (67th).
The win takes Dempo to 50 points from 24 matches, 12
points clear of second placed Mahindra United.
The only team that can challenge Dempo now?is third
placed Churchill Brothers (35 points in 21 matches), who now
have an inferior goal difference of nine goals.
To win the title, Churchill require to win all their
remaining five matches with a better margin while Dempo lose
both their matches, which looks unlikely.
Meanwhile, the visitors, who remain on 25 points from 24
matches, now require to win both their remaining matches to
save them from being relegated.
Earlier, Air India adopted a cautious approach, packed
more men in the defence and relied on counter moves to attack
the rival goal.
Coach Yusuf Ansari`s strategy worked in the first half as
AI kept the scoresheet blank, frustrating Dempo who almost
camped in their rival half but failed to breach the defence.
Roberto Mendis Silva, who tried to breach the defence
with long overhead balls, tried a long ranger which sailed
inches over the bar.