Chance for Dempo to make amends


Margao : Dempo Sports Club are looking for a “fantastic start” to 2008, they want to dominate Indian football as they did for most part of last year.

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Armando Colaco and his boys have won plenty of plaudits for their eye-catching play in the I-League, but finished the year on a disappointing note when they, quite unexpectedly, dropped points to Mahindra United at home.

The Dempo coach now believes his side will take their frustration out on Viva Kerala when they meet in a 9th round clash of the I-League, at Nehru Stadium, Goa, Friday.

“We want to start the New Year in a fantastic manner,” Armando told IANS on the eve of his side’s encounter with the South India giants.

Having set the pace in the I-League, Dempo found themselves pegged back after their drawn match with the Mahindras, while JCT continued with their resurgence.

“JCT is breathing down our neck and we can’t afford any more slip ups,” said Armando, one of India’s most successful club coaches.

JCT currently lead the table with 19 points, but Dempo (18 points) — who have a match in hand — can catch up, even go on top, if they can put it across Viva Kerala, Friday.

Dempo defender John Dias will continue to be on the sidelines for the third consecutive match after injuring his knee in a freakish motorbike accident, last week. Dempo Nicolau Borges is suspended for tomorrow’s game after picking two yellow cards.

Dominic Noronha is expected to continue partnering Mahesh Gawli in defence while, Armando confirmed, Peter Carvalho will step into the boots of Nicolau Borges as left-half.

“I’ve never been scared of injuries to my players. I have enough in reserves,” says Armando.

A M Sreedharan, however, is not so lucky.

The Viva Kerala coach has to make do with little on hand as he struggles to motivate his side to replicate their performances earlier in the league.

Viva Kerala (9 points) had a dream start that included a cherished win over Mohun Bagan, but with three losses on the trot the Kerala outfit is in danger of being pushed into the relegation zone.

Luckily for Viva and Sreedharan, Ghanaian striker Wisdom Abbey has regained full fitness and will be available for game against Dempo.