Goan party continues as Dempo join Churchill in semifinals

Goan clubDempo SC entered the semifinals of the 35th Federation Cup after being held to a goalless draw by Mohammedan Sporting in Manjeri on Monday.

Dempo, thus, joined Churchill Brothers, who have already reached the semis, in the last four.

Churchill, meanwhile, registered their third consecutive win by defeating Pune FC 3-2 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi. Churchill finished on top of Group A with nine points from three wins, while Dempo narrowly eked out Mohammadan Sporting to emerge as the leader in Group D.

After Monday’s draw, Dempo and Mohammedan finished their group outings on seven points apiece from three matches, but the Goan outfit progressed to the last-four stage by virtue of better goal difference. In the match between, Churchill and Pune FC, Anthony Wolfe scored a brace while Lenny Rodrigues netted the other for the Goan side.

For Pune FC, Gabriel Fernandes scored two goals.  The first goal of the match came in the eighth minute when Wolfe slapped in Abdel Hamid Shabana’s cross from the right.

The early setback hit Pune hard and they pressed for the equaliser and eventually pulled it back in the 19th minute. Churchill goalkeeper Lalit Thapa managed to palm off Anthony D’Souza’s low powerful shot, only for the rebound to be tapped in by Fernandez who was following up.

However, Churchill captain Rodrigues had other ideas. In the 24th minute, receiving a pass from Wolfe, a composed Rodrigues broke into the box and beat Amrinder Singh with his left-footer. After the cross-over, Fernandes made amends when he intercepted a rebound to blast it in past Thapa in the 53rd minute. The post denied Churchill in the 72nd minute when Wolfe’s rasper rebounded back.

 But two minutes later, Wolfe made it 3-2. Balwant Singh’s pass was just perfect as Wolfe sneaked in between two central defenders, went past Amrinder and put it at the back of the net.  Meanwhile, in other inconsequential matches of the day, Eagles FC beat United SC 2-0 in Group A at Kochi, while Bhawanipore FC defeated United Sikkim by a solitary goal in another Group D encounter at Manjeri.

Tuesday’s fixtures: Group ‘B’: Sporting Clube de Goa vs Rangdajied, East Bengal vs Bengaluru FC.

Group ‘C’: Shillong Lajong vs Mumbai FC, Salgaocar vs Mohun Bagan.

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