Dempo SC and Salgaocar FC played out a goalless stalemate in the Goa Pro League at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa with the Eagles leaving the game the unhappier of the two teams at the end of contest.
The Eagles who were the designated home team for the evening made only one change to their previous eleven that started against Churchill Brothers for their last outing in the Goa Professional League, Shubham Malvankar replaced the injured Gaurav Vaigankar in defence.
A cagey First Half saw the Eagles edge out both, possession and play with the visiting team having to opt to play their part on the counter. Looking sharp on the ball, Kritikesh Gadekar was Dempo SC’s main man in the midfield, in the opening forty-five, dictating and orchestrating play from his deep-lying position. For all the possession, however, the Eagles were unable to test the Salgaocar FC custodian, as the first half ended goalless, much to the benefit of the visitors.
As the second half began, Dempo head coach Samir Naik opted to replace Nigel Fernandes with the mercurial Suraj Hadonkar and it seemed to generate an almost immediate reaction on the game. Having dodged four players outside the box, the winger was not able to convert the chance into anything concrete, having lost his balance at the vital moment inside the box, the chance seemed to signal a sign of things to come for the hugely unlucky Dempo side this evening.
As space began to open in the middle of the park, it was a combination of Beevan’s touch, Suraj’s skills, and Richard’s running off the ball that looked most likely to unlock the Salgaocar FC defence as the boys slowly but surely began to grow slowly into the game. Looking for the three points and trying to force the issue, Samir Naik replaced Shubham Malvankar for the attacking-minded Alber Gonzalves, as he hoped to provide Suraj’s industry in midfield with an outlet going forward.
As the Eagles began to bombard the Salgaocar FC box with crosses, Samir Naik opted to make his final substitute of the evening, the tall and lanky Simranjeet Singh replaced captain Beevan D’Mello as the boys pushed forward for the decisive goal. Richard Cardoz, Kritishesk Gadekar, and Simranjeet Singh all came close before the end of regulation time, as the Eagles continued to narrowly miss the target and the subsequent three points.
With a total of four minutes being added at the end of regulation time, The Eagles who almost played the entire second half in the opposition half had one last chance fall to Richard Cardoz, but it was not meant to be for the Eagles with the final whistle being blown soon after.