Dempo move closer to crown

In a match that the Goan side 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).

To win the title, Churchill require to win all their remaining five matches with a better margin while Dempo needs to lose both their matches.

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 attacks.

Coach Yusuf Ansari’s strategy worked in the first half as AI kept the scoresheet blank, frustrating Dempo who were camped in their rival half but failed to breach the defence.
Roberto Mendis Silva, who tried to catch the defence with long overhead balls, tried a long ranger which sailed inches over the bar. The trend continued in the second half and Dempo had to wait till the 63rd minute to find the net.

Ranti Martins, who got the ball on top of the box, got the better of two rival defenders and essayed a firm shot which goalkeeper Arnab Das Sharma managed to block, only to find Abranches darting in to head the ball into the net.

Four minutes later, the Air India citadel fell again as Dempo earned a penalty after defender Khelemba Meitei tripped Abranches, who was about to take a shot at the goal from inside the box off a cross from Anthony Pereira from the right, from behind.
Martins converted the penalty, sending the ball past the goalkeeper to his left.

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