24 Sep :I-League champions Dempo scripted history becoming the first team from India to make it to the semi-finals of the AFC Cup when they defeated Home United 4-3 in Singapore on Tuesday.
The Goan club, which were held 1-1 in the first leg of the AFC Cup quarter-finals in Hyderabad last Wednesday, came out firing all cylinders and at the final whistle, did what East Bengal and Mahindra United could not do — earn a place in the last-four stage.
Needing a win or at least a 2-2 draw to progress, Armando Colaco’s boys got things moving when Congolese player Mboyo Iwomi — he scored the equaliser in the first leg — opened the scoring in the very first minute.
The tall striker took advantage of a loose ball to put it past Lionel Lewis under the bar.
Home United skipper Peres De Oliveira nullified Dempo’s advantage when he found the net in the 14th minute following a quick counterattack.
But Dempo’s Brazilian midfielder Roberto Mendes Silva then got into the act. He scored his first goal in the 25th minute, rising high to head home Clifford Miranda’s corner.
He added a second in the 83rd minute when he drilled in a shot past Lewis.
Home United suffered a setback soon after conceding their second goal when Valery Hiek was given the marching orders for a second bookable offence by referee Fareed Ali Mohamed Al Marzouqi of the UAE in the 30th minute.
Sivaji Nair’s wards, playing in front of their home crowd at the Jalan Besar Stadium, refused to get bogged down by the sending off and pumped in two quick goals through Indra Sahdan Daud in the 36th and 38th minutes.
The first came off a rebound after Oliveira’s penalty was blocked by Dempo goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal.
The second followed soon after when he directed Kengne Ludovick’s cross from the right to the net.
Dempo took advantage of their numerical superiority and Climax Lawrence drew parity for the Goans when his shot bulged the net in first half injury time.
With the teams tied 3-3 at the breather, it was Dempo who had the advantage of moving to the semi-finals.
Playing with 10 men Home United could not sustain the momentum and Silva’s second strike put the matter well and truly beyond them.DDINEWS