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Royals go down fighting to Dempo, lose 3-2
SHILLONG: Royal Wahingdoh FC fought hard to come back twice but could not get the better of Dempo which sealed three points in a Hero I-League game at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Wednesday courtesy a Tolgay Ozbey brace which included a stoppage time goal.
The closely contested tie ended 3-2 in favour of the hosts who denied the Royals a flight back to the top spot.
At 26 points from 16 games now, the Royals would have to aim to win all of their remaining matches to realize their title ambitions. Dempo, meanwhile, would be breathing a sigh of relief at moving up to the sixth spot after this win with 16 points in their kitty.
While Dempo struck in the 26th, 82nd and 90+ minutes respectively, the Royals found the back of the nets in the 45+ and 85th minutes.
Earlier, both sides started brightly creating a few chances but it was the Golden Eagles who drew first blood in the 26th minute through a Sushil Singh goal. Sushil came up with a diving header to open the account from a measured cross by Haroon Amiri.
Wahingdoh were quick to respond and almost equalized barely nine minutes later when a Seityasen Singh header sniffed the cross bar to go over. Seitya was beautifully fed by a Bekay Bawar cross from the far left.
The Royals continued to maintain pressure and Densill Theobald almost stunned the home supporters with a scorcher of a shot from long range in the 41st minute. It required an acrobatic effort from the Dempo goalkeeper to deny the Wahingdoh skipper.
However, the visitors were finally rewarded for their efforts at the stroke of half time.
A Naoba Singh delivery found its way to Theobald, who from five yards out guided it onto the post. However, fortunately for the Royals, the ball bounced back into play and was right in front of the waiting Loveday, who had the easiest of tap-ins to convert right under the crossbar.
Crossing over, the arrival of Tolgay Ozbey gave Dempo renewed hope. The Australian striker found the back of the net with a powerful right footer after some good work by Francis on the right in the 83rd minute. However, barely had the hosts celebrated their achievement that the Royals struck back through a brilliant Theobald effort. A superb ball by Bewar saw Theobald finally recieve the ball in the box and the skipper made no mistake to convert from a difficult angle.
However, it was Ozbey and Dempo who were fated to have the last laugh. A great cross from the right found Ozbey inside the box and a staring Bowari Khongstia could not do enough to prevent the Dempo striker from finding the back of the nets.
The Royals will next play Mumbai FC in a home match on Sunday.