Dempo take on Bengaluru FC in Fed Cup final

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Margao, Jan 10: Local side Dempo SC would look to capitalise on their home advantage when it takes on reigning I-League champion Bengaluru FC in the summit clash of the 36th Federation Cup football tournament at the Nehru Stadium here Sunday.

Both teams have been in impressive form throughout the tournament and have stayed unbeaten in their quest for the title.

Dempo beat Salgaocar 2-0 while Bengaluru strolled to a 3-0 win against Sporting Clube De Goa in the semi-finals.

Dempo owe their sparkling form to the frontline duo of Romeo Fernandes and Tolgay Ozbey, together scoring nine of the ten goals that Dempo have scored so far. They have even managed to keep three clean sheets out of the five games played, providing ample testimony of their all-round game.

Bengaluru have proved their mettle, showing their willingness to play under pressure after being dubbed accidental I-league winners, lifting the trophy in their debut season, last year.

Their defensive pairing of Curtis Osano and John Johnson have been solid, assuring the team to go attack wholeheartedly in their forward bursts. Full-backs Rino Anto and Keegan Pereira have also complimented the central defensive pairing admirably.

And its the battle between the backline of Bengaluru against the might of the Ozbey-Fernandes that could determine the outcome of the final.

But Bengaluru are by no means lacking in firepower. Their captain and India international Sunil Chhetri has been in superb form, scoring five goals so far.

He will be matched in the goal-netting prowess by Ozbey who too have five goals, including a hat-trick in the group stage, to be in the running for the highest scorers’ prize.

Bengaluru coach Ashley Westwood lauded the Indian skipper terming him a “great leader” and was cautious while praising Sunday’s opponents.

“Dempo have been playing good football and have some players who are in form. They are fast and can attack well. Our defence is something we can pride ourselves on. We have so far kept three clean sheets and up front also Sunil has been really good,” he said in a release Saturday.

Dempo coach Arthur Papas said he was banking on his team’s overall strength and unity to emerge victorious.

“Players are improving while new players have come in and made an impact. The group works together, for each other and it’s not about one player alone. The strength of the team is the squad.”

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