Prayag shock Dempo 2-1
Margao: Prayag United scored a goal in each half to shock Dempo 2-1 and finish their first leg I-League engagement on a high note at the Nehru Stadium here today.
The visitors, who led 1-0 in the first half, scored through Josimar Da Silva Martins in the seventh minute, capitalising on a defensive lapse and later through Gouranga Biswas in the 78th minute.
The defeat meant that Dempo remained on 27 points and in danger of losing their top spot to Churchill Brothers at the end of the first leg.
Prayag took their tally to 21 points from 13 matches.
Dempo, who failed to play a cohesive game and were lethargic in their approach, pulled one back in the 60th minute through Ranty Martins.
Prayag`s plan to play a defensive game and counter-attack worked well as they surprised Dempo early.
Defender Cresson Antao hesitated in clearing a lob from Man of the Match Lalkamal Bhowmick into the box even as rival striker Josimar Da Silva Martins went for the ball.
Sensing danger, Dempo keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury came out to thwart Josimar but failed to check him. Josimar who found himself free headed the ball into the empty net.
Chowdhury hurt himself in the process and was replaced by Laxmikant Kattimani.
Dempo did not recover from the early set back as their midfield committed lot of errors which allowed their rivals to penetrate more often into their goal.
Josimar could have increased Prayag`s lead in the 36th minute but his attempt at the goal off a pass from Yakubu was blocked by Kattimani.
Prayag had another chance to score in the stoppage time of the first half but Sankar Oraon shot out off a Denson pass on the left.
Dempo made a change after the interval bringing in Koko Sakibo in the place of Joy Ferrao.
Soon after rival keeper Abhjit Mondal brought Martins down and referee B Balasubramaniam awarded a penalty to Dempo which Martins converted in the 60th minute by beating the keeper on his right.
Dempo improved their game by several notches after the goal and had a good chance to go ahead but Martins failed to direct his low header off a cross from Anthony Pereira on target.
Prayag, who came with counter moves, then sealed the game through a header by Biswas.
Sankar Oraon from the right floated the ball inside the box where substitute Kayne Vincent failed to connect his cleanly and the ball went to Biswas, who smartly guided the ball into the net to see his team collect full points.