Dempo SC are I-League champions

Dempo SC held their nerve on Friday to claim the I-League crown for a third time thanks to 0-0 draw with East Bengal.

I-League News: Dempo are I-league champions

With the point, Dempo moved into an unassailable position at the summit with 54 points from their 25 games. They will now be presented with the trophy - their fifth top-flight crown - when they play Kolkata's Prayag United at the Salt Lake Stadium on May 5.

"Winning another I-League title is like climbing Mount Everest for one more time," Dempo captain Mahesh Gawli declared after the match.

Trevor Morgan's East Bengal, with their own mountain to scramble up, had been the only team capable of catching Dempo, a fact which saw the naturalized Australian field a three-man attack consisting of Tolgay Ozbey, Robin Singh and Edmilson Marques.

Indeed, it was Edmilson who spurned the game's best chance on the half hour mark, neatly intercepting goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury's intended ball to defender Cressan Antao, before, and with only the custodian to beat, somehow failing to convert. It was to prove a costly miss.

After the break, and with Dempo defending resolutely, East Bengal substitute Sanju Pradhan's intended cross sailed just over the bar and Edmilson, again, was wasteful when he directed his header wide from close range.

Dempo's best chance of the second period came from a free kick which Ranty Martins executed well but could only hit bar. In the end, however, it mattered little as the final whistle sounded to signal success for Dempo.

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