Poor defending dashed Dempo's hopes of becoming the first Indian club to reach the final of the AFC Cup after they were demolished 1-4 by Lebanon's Safa FC in the return leg semi-final tie to go down 1-5 on aggregate in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Needing to win by at least a 2-0 margin to break the monopoly of West Asian countries in this tournament after the Goa club lost 0-1 in the first leg in Beirut, Armando Colaco's boys were staring down the barrel as early as the ninth minute when Mohammad Kassas headed home from a free-kick.
Even before they could regroup, Dempo conceded the second goal when Kassas knocked in his second from close in the 19th minute. And, down by two goals in the first half, it was an uphill task for Dempo.
"Conceding an early goal was a real setback for us," Dempo's stand-in coach Mauricio Afonso said after the match.
Dempo tried hard to get things back on track and Mboyo Iyomi managed to reduce the deficit when he stabbed home in the 60th minute.
With the score reading 2-1 (3-1 overall), Dempo needed three more goals in the next half hour to progress to the title round but were undone by two quick goals towards the end of the match.
Hussein Tahan, who replaced Rony Azar, scored a brace (89th minute and 90 + 4) to take the Lebanese side to the final in their debut AFC Cup campaign.