GOA: 90 minutes of pulsating football await us at the Fatorda Stadium which will eventually decide the winner of the Second Division League 2015-16. Dempo SC, who are leading the chart with 20 points, are slated to clash their swords with Minerva Academy FC, the debutants from the state of five rivers, who have given a swashbuckling performance in their debut season.
In the reverse fixture, Dempo SC garnered all three points at the Sector 17 ground in Chandigarh, thanks to the cheeky goal by Uttam Rai from a scintillating cross by Mandar Rao Desai. Since the loss at home, Minerva Academy FC have revived immaculately and churned 4 wins from 5 matches, losing only 2 points out of possible 15.
Dempo SC’s intimidating attacking trio comprising of Mandar Rao Desai, Uttam Rai and Romeo Fernandes provided a much-needed boost to their hope to make into next season’s Hero I-League. Albeit they could not penetrate the sturdy Black Panthers at the Fatorda Stadium, no other team was able to keep a clean sheet against them.
Dempo SC will be missing two of their key players in the likes of Holicharan Narzary and Vinit Rai, who have been called up for the National Team camp in Guwahati. On the other hand, the visitors will also miss the services of Kareem Omolaja Nurain, owing to his accumulation of yellow cards.
“The journey so far has been a magnificent one. Right from the start, we were confident and always played for a win. I am proud of the team that we have reached this far and are now on the brink of making history,” opined Minerva Academy FC director Ranjit Bajaj.
Coach Surinder Singh, meanwhile, followed up with, “The boys are really doing well and they are all geared up. The best part is that they are all confident and are willing to give their extra bit for the match. That makes me happy as a coach,” he said.
Now the onus is on the 22 players who are certainly looking forward to leave the ground with the silverware. Whether the expertise of Dempo SC gets the better of the bravado of Minerva Academy FC or not, it can only be seen after the gruelling 90 minutes of football.