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Dempo go down to Safa 0-1

New Delhi: Dempo’s hopes of making the finals of the AFC Cup received a jolt on Tuesday when they went down to Lebanon’s Safa SC by a solitary goal in the first leg semi-final in Beirut.

According to information received here, the Goa side looked all set to bag a point from their away match at the Beirut Sports City Stadium when a last minute goal by Hamze Aboud dashed their hopes.

Aboud scored the only goal of the match after the Dempo defence failed to clear a flag kick from the left. Aboud controlled the ball on his chest and fired a powerful shot into the net.

Dempo will now have to win their home match at Hyderabad on October 21 by a margin of more than one goal to make the title round. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has turned down Dempo’s request to host the match at Goa.

Dempo coach Armando Colaco said his team were beaten but not disgraced. “With little more luck we could have returned home with one point.

“But everything is not lost yet. I have full faith in my boys. They only made it possible when we came back strongly to win against Home United at Singapore. I know we will turn around in Hyderabad.”

Safa were the better side in the opening exchanges although they didn’t create any clear chances till the 14th minute, when Ali Al Saadi sent his free kick over the crosspiece.

A minute later, Safa went close when striker Rony Azar, who scored a brace in the previous match against Malaysian side Perak saw his goal-bound effort saved by the Dempo goalkeeper.

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