Dempo Sports Club today sealed a comeback to the elite I-League after scoring a convincing 3-1 win over Minerva Academy FC to top the Second Division I-League at the Nehru Stadium here.
Dempo, who were relegated to the second division last year, scored through Milagres Gonsalves (8th, 31st) and Felix Odili Chidi (12th) to end at the top of the points table. Only the winning team of second division I-League gets automatic promotion to the I-League first division.
Minerva Academy put up an improved performance in the second half and reduced the margin through Amandeep Singh in the 85th minute.
Former I-League champions Dempo collected 23 points from 10 matches while Minerva Academy FC, who needed a win to make it to the elite I-League, finished second with 18 points from 10 matches.
Dempo, who just needed a draw to be promoted to the I-League, did not want to take any chances. They attacked from the start with their midfielders and strikers combining well to keep their rival defenders on their toes.
Striker Milagres Gonsalves and Felix Chidi, who played with good understanding upfront with their speedy runs, put pressure on the rival defence.
Dempo surged ahead in the eighth minute with Mandar Rao Dessai send a measured ceoss into the box that beat rival defence and the keeper who came out to palm the ball away but failed and Milagres Gonsalves headed the ball into the net.
Minerva Academy defence again fumbled in the 12th minute when they got beaten by a Peter Carvalho long lob. Felix Chidi, who took a defender in his stride, took a shot which deflected from a defender and off the rebound he headed the ball into the net.