Return of the old warhorse: Five-time champions Dempo seal swift I-League return

Margao: Dempo Sports Club today sealed a comeback to the elite I-League after scoring a convincing 3-1 win over Minerva Academy FC to top the Second Division I-League at the Nehru Stadium on Sunday.

Dempo, who were relegated to the second division last year, scored through Milagres Gonsalves (8th, 31st) and Felix Odili Chidi (12th) to end at the top of the points table. Only the winning team of second division I-League gets automatic promotion to the I-League first division.

Dempo return to elite I-League. AIFF

Dempo return to elite I-League. AIFF

Minerva Academy put up an improved performance in the second half and reduced the margin through Amandeep Singh in the 85th minute.

Former I-League champions Dempo collected 23 points from 10 matches while Minerva Academy FC, who needed a win to make it to the elite I-League, finished second with 18 points from 10 matches.

Dempo, who just needed a draw to be promoted to the I-League, did not want to take any chances. They attacked from the start with their midfielders and strikers combining well to keep their rival defenders on their toes.

Striker Milagres Gonsalves and Felix Chidi, who played with good understanding upfront with their speedy runs, put pressure on the rival defence.

Dempo surged ahead in the eighth minute with Mandar Rao Desai sending a measured cross into the box that beat the rival defence and the keeper who came out to palm the ball away but failed and Milagres Gonsalves headed the ball into the net.

Minerva Academy's defence fumbled again in the 12th minute when they got beaten by a Peter Carvalho long lob. Felix Chidi took a shot which deflected off a defender and the rebound landed towards him and he headed the ball into the net to make it 2-0 for Dempo.

Gonsalves then took the match away from the visitors' reach when he split the defence with a one-two pass with Felix who laid a diagonal pass. Gonsalves' shot beat the rival keeper to give Dempo a 3-0 lead at half time.

The visitors reduced the margin in the 85th minute when Amandeep Singh's shot from inside the box deflected off defender Chika Wali and caught keeper Kattimani on the wrong foot to find the net.

"I am more delighted for this team coming back in the elite I-League after getting relegated last year. We have won the title five time after we first got relegated in 1999-2000 and it's a proud moment for us, especially at a time when our club has completed 50 years," Dempo's patron Srinivas Dempo said.

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Updated Date: May 30, 2016 11:40:30 IST

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