Margao: Dempo made history in Indian football here on Friday as they won the I-League crown for a record fifth time with a goalless draw against East Bengal at the Nehru Stadium here in Fatorda. The draw took the team to 54 points from 25 matches - beyond the reach of any other club. They play their last match against Kolkata's Prayag United at the Salt Lake Stadium, May 5, when they also would be presented with the Champions Trophy. Dempo will also get the prize money of Rs 7 million.
Kingfisher East Bengal who still have two more matches left, move to 45 points from 24 matches. It was a must win for East Bengal, and visiting coach Trevor Morgan fielded a three-man attack consisting of Tolgay Ozbey, Robin Singh and Edmilson Marques.
But while East Bengal created several chances, none of the strikers could deliver the goal that they needed to stay in the hunt for the crown.
East Bengal's best chance of the half, and then the match, fell at the feet of Brazilian striker Edmilson marques in the 30th minute when goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury's intended ball to defender Cressan Antao was snatched by Edmilson but with only the goalkeeper to beat, the Brazilian shockingly picked up the side post.
Tolgay was also presented with an opportunity but the Australian striker at first could not give finishing touches to a brilliant through ball from Mehtab Hossain. Tolgay had another chance just before the change of ends but he was pulled up for a dive when claiming for a penalty.
Dempo shut the doors in the second session and didn't allow East Bengal too many opportunities to have a look at the goal. Substitute Sanju Pradhan's intended cross sailed just over the bar and Edmilson, again, was wasteful when he directed his header wide from handshaking distance.
Dempo's best chance of the half came from a free kick which Ranty Martins executed well but only ended hitting the crossbar.