Dempo Sports Club became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals after putting it across ONGC, Mumbai, 1-0 in the 1st AWES Cup, organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons and Dempo Sports Club Juniors, at Duler Football Stadium, Mapusa, on Saturday.
Beevan D’Mello scored the only goal of the match in the 18th minute as Dempo topped Group A with an all-win record while ONGC finished at the bottom of the pool. Calangute Association, who had an outside chance of qualification, finished second.
Dempo will now meet the winners of FC Pune City and FC Bardez in the first semi-final on Thursday.
The Panaji-based side stamped their superiority right from the start and took the lead in the 18th minute after Beevan D’Mello received a through ball from Latesh Mandrekar and cleverly chipped it over the onrushing goalkeeper Soumya Das.
The early goal was enough to give Dempo the much needed confidence and they looked to increase their tally. Striker Beevan had another opportunity immediately but his volley was saved by the goalkeeper.
ONGC needed to win this game by at least a two-goal margin to qualify for the semi-finals but they struggled all through. The Dempo defence hardly allowed the ONGC strikers any space to operate.
In the second session, ONGC tried to change their fortunes with a couple of substitutions but the story remained the same. The visitors, though, came close on some occasions particularly in the 69th minute when Dhiraj Meher sent in a perfect cross but Prathamesh Kasare’s header lacked power to beat the rival goalkeeper. Another attempt on goal, this time a long ranger from Nitesh Monde, was parried away to safety.
Dempo too had their chances to put the result beyond any doubt but their strikers lacked composure when in front of the goal. Beevan, Mario Mascarenhas and Yogesh Kadam all had their chances.
Towards the closing stages of the match, ONGC could have saved themselves the embarrassment and rescued at least a point but Harpreet Singh failed to measure up to the challenge.
Salgaocar FC v Viva Chennai FC, 4 pm at Duler Stadium