I-League: Dempo maintains winning streak

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/f/football.jpg' class='caption'> Hat-trick hero Martins silenced his growing list of critics as Dempo Sports Club raced to an effortless 4-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa in Margao.

Updated: January 16, 2008 17:39 IST
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Hat-trick hero Ranty Martins silenced his growing list of critics as Dempo Sports Club raced to an effortless 4-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa in their 11th round encounter in the I-League football tournament at the Nehru Stadium in Margao on Sunday.

Ranty, Dempo captain, has been heavily criticised for his below par showing in the I-League. In private, even his team mates, have questioned Ranty's commitment to Dempo's cause what with the Nigerian striker sealing a high-profile move to Irish club Bohemian FC in the summer.

On Sunday, however, the Nigerian striker finally came good with a hat-trick as Dempo demolished Sporting Clube and increased the gap at the top to eight points.

Edeh Chidi was also among the goals while Freddy Mascarenhas scored his first I-League goal for Sporting Clube. Dempo seemed intent adding on the I-league title to their impressive list of trophies. And with Ranty also striking form, it is becoming increasingly difficult for their rivals to catch up.

Dempo seemed in a hurry to open the account, but a determined Luis Barreto under the Sporting Clube goal, proved equal to the task.

The Sporting goalkeeper made three unbelievable saves in the first 15 minutes itself; his double save off Edeh Chidi and Ranty from close range remained the highlight of the match.

Ranty Martins, however, broke Sporting Clube's resistance with a solo move; side-stepping Felipe Gomes, cutting past another hapless defender and unleashing a vicious pile-driver that whizzed past the Sporting goalkeeper.

Edeh Chidi compounded Sporting Clube's misery in the 31st minute as he capitalised on a defensive lapse. Ranty sent a cross from the left which the Sporting defecne misread allowing Chidi a simple tap in.

Ranty Martins then added his second with a neat finish to a move involving Climax Lawrence and Nicolau Borges. At half time, Dempo were 3-0 ahead. But, Sporting came back with a goal from Freddy Mascarenhas in the 63rd minute.Mickky Fernandes' free-kick then struck the goalpost as Dempo dropped guard and Sporting stepped up pace.

However, Sporting Clube were restricted to a midfield show and never really came close to troubling Abhijit Mondal under the Dempo goal. Ranty completed his hat trick in the last minute following Nascimento Silveira's chipped pass.

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