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Dempo down Lajong 1-0

Siliguri/Jamshedpur: I-League champions Dempo returned to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Shillong Lajong, while there was setback in store for East Bengal who dropped points after being held 1-1 by Sporting Clube de Goa in the Federation Cup on Friday.

Dempo rode on a Clifford Miranda strike (45th) to down Lajong by a solitary goal.

In another match of the same group simultaneously played at Keenan Stadium, Pailan Arrows put up a spirited show to hold Mumbai FC 2-2.

The Mumbai outfit struck through N D Opara’s twin-goal effort (12th and 62nd), but the Kolkata-based outfit negated the effort with strikes from D Ganesh (45th) and Deepak Devrani (78th).

SLFC coach, Desmond Bulpin said that the boys were fantastic and gave a very good performance.

“We were much stronger than our opponents and the boys were fighting till the last minute. Unfortunately, Dempo got a free kick, which Clifford Miranda converted,” he said.

Lalrinzuala Khiangte, 18, from the Shillong Lajong Academy made his debut in the game, playing his first competitive football match and Bulpin praised his performace by saying that “He was excellent and deserved to play along with his seniors today.”

With this win, Dempo SC are at the top of Group A with four points and they take on Mumbai on Sunday.

Lajong are in second position with three points and will play their third match against Pailan Arrows also on Sunday.

It was a disappointing first day for East Bengal as last year’s runners-up failed to log full points and were reduced to 10 men after their inspirational playmaker Mehtab Hossain was sent off just before time.

Edeh Chidi gave the red and golds the lead converting a spot kick in the ninth minute but Victorino Fernandes equalised for the Goan outfit in the 82nd.

Earlier in the day, ONGC routed qualifiers Kalighat MS 5-1 in another Group C match in Siliguri, with Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa and Nigerian Keshukwu Onyema scoring two apiece. Sachin Gawas scored the fifth. ONGC went a goal behind, but they responded well. (PTI)

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