Federation Cup: Dempo edge past East Bengal 1-0, Pune overcome Lajong 3-1

Vasco (Goa), Dec 29 (IANS) A header from midfielder Romeo Fernandez in the first half helped local giants Dempo go past a lacklustre East Bengal side 1-0 in a group A Federation Cup encounter at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda Monday.

In a group B match, Pune FC showed character and belief to come from a goal down and clinch a 3-1 win over Shillong Lajong.
In a game dominated by Pune, it was Lajong who took the lead through striker Lalrammuana in the 16th minute.
Pune fought back to level through winger Anthony D’Souza at the stroke of half-time before scoring twice through skipper Arata Izumi (66th) and striker Eric Brown (90+3rd) to register a convincing victory.
With this win, Pune go to the top of the Group B table with three points ahead of Bengaluru FC (three pts) on goal difference.
In the Group A tie, Fernandez made most of a lofted through ball from Aussie striker Tolgay Ozbey five minutes from half-time, to head the ball into the net, with no defenders on his heels. It could have been 2-0 for Dempo had Ozbey not squandered a glorious opportunity with East Bengal custodian Subhashish Roy Chowdhury out of his box.
East Bengal’s defense looked porous to say the least with new pairing Arnab Mondal and Australian Milan Susak not gelling at all at the heart of the defense, Roy Chowdhury however saved his team the blushes as he dived around to make some brilliant saves.
Two yellow cards were flashed to Cavin Lobo and Lenny for exchanging rash tackles on eachother.
Dempo for their part looked the better of the two teams with the likes of Ozbey, Romeo and Mandar having a lot of joy on the left flank where Raju Gaikwad was exposed too easily.