Dempo SC will fancy their chances against FC Pune City Reserves as they lock horns in the semifinal of the 1st AWES Cup, organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons and Dempo Sports Club Juniors, at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa on Thursday.
Dempo SC and FC Pune City Reserves both have an all-win record from their two matches in the league stage but the visitors will be hit hard by the absence of their captain Ashique Kurniyan. The winger has been in exceptional form for FC Pune City Reserves and was instrumental in both their victories but needlessly picked up a second booking during their last match against FC Bardez.
The second booking in the last minute and the consequent sending off means Kurniyan will miss the semifinal clash, leaving their coach with a major headache.
FC Pune City Reserves won their opening round clash 5-0 against Dempo Juniors and then scored a narrow solitary goal victory over FC Bardez.
Dempo SC too have been in impressive form since getting the better of Calangute Association in the opening match.
Coach Samir Naik, a former India International defender, has done well to mould a group of youngsters into a competitive outfit and he will expect his boys to fire against the visitors and seal a place in the season-opening tournament.
Much will depend on the form of striker Beevan D’Mello, who scored the winner against Mumbai’s ONGC.
Meanwhile, the organisers have announced that there will be entry fee for the semifinals and final. The organisers had thrown the gates open for the 12 group matches. From the semifinals, the organisers said spectators will have to buy a housie coupon costing Rs 50 to enter the West stand while entry to the North stand will remain free.