INDIAN FOOTBALL : I-LEAGUE 2014-15 REPORT

I-LEAGUE 2014-15 : Dempo hold Bengaluru FC 1-1 at home match.

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Dempo vs Bengaluru FC match MARINERS NEEDS TO OVERCOME THE MAGIC OF ODAFA
23.05.2015 : DEMPO SC ---- 1-1 --- BENGALURU FC (90') - ( FT.)
DEM : Uttam 77'
BEN : Robin 65'
DEM : Kattimani, Rowilson, Nirmal, Pronoy, Joy, Fulgancio, Jewel, Pronoy, Lenny, Alyin, Holicharan
BEN : Ralte, Anto, Osano, Gurtej, Fanai, Thoi, Walkar, Lyndoh, Vineeth, Rooney, Sunil

Bengaluru FC will go into the final game of the season needing a win against Mohun Bagan to retain their I-League title after Ashley Westwood's team were held to a 1-1 draw by Dempo at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Sunday. Robin Singh came off the bench to head Bengaluru to a 65th minute lead before Uttam Rai levelled things a little more than ten minutes later.

In the day's early kick-off, fellow title contenders Mohun Bagan beat Sporting Clube de Goa 2-0 at home to move to 38 points while the result in Goa meant the Blues are on 36 points as Kanteerava will play host to what will be a historic title for either of the teams.

Spare a Sean Rooney header that sailed over, Bengaluru didnít do much in a half where Dempo sat pretty with possession and had more than a few chances that Lalthuammawia Ralte was at hand to save. Battling relegation, the hosts were always going to come up with an inspired show, something Westwood spoke about in his pre-match press conference on Saturday.

The lackluster half was always going to see Westwood throw in changes and it was little surprise when Robin and Udanta Singh were brought on for CK Vineeth and Sunil Chhetri in attack. It took only 15 minutes for the tweak in tactics to click when Eugeneson Lyngdoh, like he has done so many times this season, swung in a perfect corner that Robin rose to head home as Bengaluru grabbed the lead.

The goal seemed to have put Bengaluru into the groove as they began getting more comfortable on the ball. But Dempo had a substitute of their own pull a goal back when Uttam Rai shot past Ralte from a little inside the box on what was his debut for the Goa club. Picked out by fellow substitute Mandar Desai, Rai bided his time and with no defender choosing to attack him, made space and scored to make it 1-1.

Knowing a point would leave them with the same task on the final day of the League as a win would, Bengaluru were keen on seizing control of things. They could have even got the win but Shankar Sampingirajís header from a corner sailed over with a little less than five minutes to the whistle.

The Blues leave for Hong Kong on Sunday night to play South China AA in the AFC Cup pre-quarterfinal before they host Bagan in a game that will be nothing short of a humdinger.

90': SCORE LINE 1-1
77': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL 1-1 the score line now through uttam Rai..
65': GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL 1-0 to Bengaluru. Robin singh scored.
50': No score. 0-0.
46': Starts of 2nd half match.
HT: Still the score line is 0-0.
30': SCORE LINE - 0-0
23': Last 2 matched Dempo ended goalless with Mumbai FC and salgaocar.
22': Dempo hold Bengaluru FC goalless in Away match.
20': SCORE LINE - 0-0
PART - 8 : Indian Football Player Transfer-Giossip. R-E-A-D
12': Allwin's shot saved by Ralte.
10': Corner to Dempo. Lenny's volley from corner went wide.
7': Attack of Bengaluru.CLOSE! Rino's cross and Rooney's header hits the cross bar. 5': 0-0 is the score line.
1': Match starts.

PREVIEW : BFC PRESS RELEASE : Ashley Westwood drove home the need for his Bengaluru FC side to stay focused as they take on Dempo SC in a crucial I-League game at the Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Saturday. One half of a two-horse race to the title, the Blues are on 35 points from 18 games and a win against the Goa club would put them in a good position before the virtual final against Mohun Bagan who are on the same points and host Sporting Clube de Goa in Saturdayís early kick-off.

Irrespective of what either of Bengaluru or Bagan do tomorrow, one of the closest title races in I-League history will be decided when the two teams face-off at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on May 31. But while permutations and combinations may be many, all Westwood will look for is a solid, disciplined performance when his boys take the pitch at 7 pm.

Though Bengaluru have never been beaten by Dempo in all competitions, the fact that they are battling to beat the drop makes them a completely different opposition altogether and the gaffer refused to look at the fixture as one where predictions could be easy. "There's no way we are taking anything for granted. This is the I-League and any team can beat another on a given day. Dempo have arguably the best Indian players.

It was only 5 months ago where they were contesting the Federation Cup final against us after stringing together some good performances. If we don't maintain our level of discipline we won't win the game, simple as that," said Westwood while addressing the press on the eve of the game.

The Blues are faced with a daunting task of playing three important games in eight days and Westwood felt that all the hard work his boys have put in through the season, will come down to these three games. "We play our AFC Cup pre-quarterfinal in Hong Kong on Tuesday between these two important I-League games and we need stay focused and grounded because as much as we can win the League, we can also lose it over the next three matches."

The hosts, who have been hit with injuries through the season, will be without three of their foreign players in Haroon Amiri, Callum Angus and Carlos Hernandez. Australian striker, Tolgay Ozbey, will, however, be up for selection.

Bengaluru have a sole setback in the absence of John Johnson who sits out serving a one-game suspension but Westwood chose to look at it as a chance for someone else to step up with a good performance in a key fixture.

The two teams met in the season opener that ended in a goalless draw after Sunil Chhetri saw his penalty saved. But they have, since then, taken different directions as the season progressed and now stand at a pivotal moment for different reasons. The game will be telecast live on Ten Action.