New Delhi:I-League champions Churchill Brothers maintained their intimidating form in the season as they beat Dempo 2-1 to storm into final of the 122nd ONGC Durand Cup football tournament final, here on Saturday.
Churchill, who had clinched the season-opening IFA Shield early this month in Kolkata, came out with some dominating performance against their Goan rivals in the first semi-final at the floodlit Ambedkar Stadium.
Two sides fought tooth and nail, but at the end Churchill came out with an all-round performance, which make them the winner.
However, Dempo became richer by Rs one lakh as losing semi-finalist.
Charan Rai (19th minute) and Odafe Onyeka Okolie (50th) scored for Churchill, who won the Durand Cup in 2007.
Dempo, who won the tournament in 2006, reduced the margin through Roberto Mendes da Silva in the 83rd minute.
Churchill now play either Mohun Bagan or Mahindra United, who play each other in the second semi-final tomorrow, in the summit clash on September 22.
Churchill, who will be in the Durand Cup final for fourth time and two years in succession, dominated for most part of the match with several attempts at the Dempo goal.
Striker Odafe, the costliest player in the Indian club circuit with a price tag of above Rs one crore, was in his best in the tournament as he tormented the Dempo defence which had two India defenders in Anwar Ali and Mahesh Gawli.
Dempo employed their usual slow build-up using short passes but could rarely breach the Churchill defense, which was led by India central defender Gouramangi Singh.
New strike duo of Ranty Martins and Sunil Chhetri made one-on-one situation on a few occasions but never threatened to beat the Churchill wall.
Right-back Charan Rai opened account for Churchill in the 19th minute finding the target from a close range to the cheer of the spectators who turned up in large numbers.
In the 41st minute, Khanthag Paite's left-footer off an Odafe pass beat the Dempo goalkeeper but Creson Antao cleared it from near the goal-line. Dempo could have equalised in the added time of first half but Ranty Martin's low right-footed attempt from a close angle hit the right post.
Just as the second half began, Dempo and India player Anthony Pereira made a fine run down the right flank from near the centre line and essayed a fine cross but Nicolau Borges headed it wide.
Five minutes after the breather, Dempo fell to Odafe magic as the Nigerian cut through Anwar and Peter Carvalho inside the box before sending a right-footer into the net.
Churchill's other foreign recruit Ogba Kalu Nwanna made a fine attempt in the 64th minute after a one-on-one with Odafe but Dempo custodian Abhijit Mondal dived to his right to collect the ball.
Mendes brought back Dempo into the match by turning in a curling free kick from outside the box into the Churchill net, but their last-ditch efforts to level the score went in vain.