New Delhi, Nov 3 (UNI) Defending champions Dempo made a shock exit from the Durand Cup football tournament, losig 1-2 to Air India in a quarter-final match here today.
The Goan side, the hot favourites to win the tournament with a couple of India players and three top foreign recruits in their ranks, were expected to come out winners but ran out of steam against the opponents from Mumbai to bow out of the tournament.
Sanju Pradhan struck an opportunistic goal three minutes into the match after Dempo goalkeeper could not properly block a Samson Singh free kick from 25 yards.
Dempo found the equiliser only in the 41st minute through Nicolas Borges but Santosh Kohli scored in the 75th minute to send the Goans packing.
In the semi-final on Monday, Air India will take on another Goan side Churchill Brothers who outplayed Central Railways 6-1 in another quarter-finals earlier in the day.
For Churchill, skipper Odafe Onyeka Okolie slammed five goals, including a hat-trick, to lead his side to the last four round.
Okolie found the net in the 12th, 40th, 54th, 58th and 82nd minutes after Kasif Jamal had put Central Railways ahead in the sixth minute.
Thangjam Singh rounded off the tally for Churchill in the 85th minute.