Pailan Arrows notched their most significant victory since the young guns were brought together as they crushed Dempo Sports Club 2-0 in an I-League encounter at the Tilak Maidan, Vasco, on Saturday.
Arthur Papas’ young but energetic side gave an excellent account of themselves as goals from Holicharan Narzary and Alwyn George in either half crushed Dempo.
The defending champions have now lost five matches in a row, their worst result since the start of the I-League and the worst performance by any team in the last five rounds.
Pailan Arrows got a dream start when Holicharan Narzary put the visitors ahead, thanks to some smart thinking. Narzary’s initial header came of the post in the second minute itself but he still showed great presence of mind as he sneaked into the Dempo area and tapped the ball past Dempo goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattymani for the opening goal.
The opening goal woke up Dempo but the defending champions, thanks to the quality in their ranks, did not seem rattled. They tried to stitch passes and get back into the groove but the central midfield pairing of Peter Carvalho and Climax Lawrence never got going forcing coach Armando Colaco to replace Lawrence with Godwin Franco.
Even that did not help.
At the other end, Pailan Arrows were piling on the pressure. Their quick runs gave Dempo defenders a harrowing time with Cresson Antao and Rowilson Rodrigues working overtime to keep the attacks at bay.
In the second session, Nigerian striker Koko Sakibo and captain Clifford Miranda tried to work their magic and came close to scoring. But when Cresson Antao was booked for the second time in the 54th minute, Dempo’s fate was sealed.
Dempo substitutes Joy Ferrao and John Meyongar combined to bring Dempo on level terms but goalkeeper Sayan Roy proved equal to the challenge.
And when Dempo were surging ahead in search of the equaliser, Pailan caught them on the break.
This time it was Seiminlen Doungel who sent a delightful cross for Alwyn to head home the second goal.
It was a hard victory for Pailan Arrows but entirely deserving, and that too against the defending champions.
Doff your hat to the young guns. And Papas.
(AIFF Press Release)