GOA: Dempo SC were handed their first defeat in the Hero I-League after the visitors Shillong Lajong FC dominated play and scored a 2-0 victory at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Saturday.
Dempo and Shillong Lajong had gone into this match with contrasting results. While Dempo were unbeaten in five matches — four of which were drawn — Lajong had just one victory to their credit and four losses from five games.
The tables, though, turned on Saturday as Lajong notched their second victory of the competition and left Dempo to lick their wounds, thanks to second half strikes from Boithang Haokip (55th minute) and Cornell Glen (69th).
Dempo started tentatively but had the first chance of the match with just two minutes on the clock. It fell for the industrious Lenny Rodrigues whose shot was dutifully saved by a diving Lajong goalkeeper TP Rehenesh.
Lajong were determined to take something out of the game and were in control early in the game. Their first chance came when the match was ten minutes old and came from a counter attack. An impressive Cornell Glen found Penn Orji but the Nigerian midfielder delayed, allowing a rival defender to weaken his attempt which was parried away for a corner by Laxmikant Kattimani.
Glen was creating plenty of problems for Dempo but lacked the finishing touch. In the 23rd minute, he was nicely picked out by Orji but Glen’s final attempt left a lot to be desired. Then, around the half hour mark, he was fed on the platter by Len Doungel inside the box but he dragged his shot wide from a good position.
Shillong Lajong broke the deadlock ten minutes after play had resumed in the second session as Boithang Haokip curled a free-kick to beat Kattimani under the Dempo goal.
Lajong soon made it 2-0 and this time it was Glen Cornell who found his scoring touch. The striker went on a weaving run, leaving at least three Dempo players in his wake before brushing aside another marker and slotting the ball past the Dempo goalkeeper.
The win took Lajong within a point of Dempo with the two teams now placed ninth and seventh respectively.
Hero of the Match – Boithang Haokip.