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Dempo rides on Martins's brace

Special Correspondent

GURGAON: Dempo Sports Club's first meeting with East Bengal this season fetched the Goan club Rs. 10 lakh, the purse for winning the Super Cup. Dempo, the I-League champion, tamed Federation Cup winner East Bengal 3-1 here on Wednesday.

The hero of Dempo's triumph was Ranty Martins, the lanky Nigerian striker. It was an eventful first session with three goals providing warmth to the spectators on a cold evening. The initial exchanges suggested little but the intentions became clear once the players decided to shed their defensive mindset with Dempo rising strongly from a deficit.

The moves lacked the flair one would associate with football at this level. East Bengal and Dempo were not at their best strength and the platform was ideal for the aspirants to grab.

It was hardly surprising when East Bengal shot ahead in the 23rd minute through the opportunism of Penn Orji. A cross from the right by Sanju Pradhan created a flutter in the Dempo ranks and the defence did well to head away.

But not well enough for the threat to go away. Orji pounced on the offering just outside the box. The goal galvanised Dempo into reorganizing its strike force. Martins was the man who delivered both the goals in style. His first came in the 34th minute from a long clearance, quite an aimless ball.

East Bengal defender Sunil Kumar had covered the aerial attack but he bumped into goalkeeper Jayanta Paul. The two lay on the ground writhing in pain and Martins capitalised to slot home the equaliser.

The pressure shifted to East Bengal as Dempo explored audaciously. Martins was a constant threat and in company with Kalu Ogba created a couple of scoring opportunities.

His second goal, four minutes after the first, was a superb piece of agility in the box.

Following a long cross by Ogba, the East Bengal goalkeeper palmed the ball but not out of danger.

Dempo began the second half with customary flourish and a sensational run down the right by Joe Rodrigues was met on the run by Martins who placed the square pass into the corner.

At 3-1 in the 49th minute, Dempo was in a position to dictate and it left little space for East Bengal to bounce back.

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