Despite being reduced to ten men midway through the second half, defending champions Dempo thumped Mohammedan Sporting 4-1 to move to fourth in points table of the ONGC I-League football, at the Nehru Stadium inn Margao, Goa, on Thursday.
Dempo, who led 3-0 at half-time, scored through Ranty Martins (8th, 22nd minute), Roberto Mendes D'Silva (34th) and Joaquim Abranches (88th).
The victory should serve as a morale booster for Dempo ahead of their AFC Cup encounter against Bahrain's Al Muharaq on April 7.
Dempo have 30 points from 20 matches while Mohammedan Sporting, who have been pushed deeper into the relegation zone, have 22 points from 21 outings.
Mohammedan Sporting have to win their last encounter against Churchill Brothers and hope that Chirag United (23) goes down to Vasco to escape the ignominy of relegation.
Dempo dominated the entire first half with quick short passes. Roberto D'Silva and Ranty Martins combined well upfront and with good support from behind, raided the rival citadel frequently.
They surged ahead in the eighth minute when a throw-in off Valeriano Rebello from the right saw Anthony Fernandes relay the ball to Martins, who deceived two rival defenders before sending an angular drive to the far corner of the net.
Dempo extended the lead in 22nd minute when Anthony Fernandes, who worked hard on the right flank along with Climax Lawerence, forwarded a clever pass to Martins, who eluded a defender before sending the ball into the net.
Roberto D'Silva, who failed to convert two chances earlier, put the match virtually beyond the visitor's reach as his low right footer from inside the box off found the target in 34th minute to secure a 3-0 lead.
Dempo were reduced to ten-men brigade midway in second half after defender John Dias was shown the red card as he intentionally handled a goal-bound shot off Mike Okoro inside the box.
Referee Pratap Singh awarded a penalty to the visitors and Okoro did not falter. That was in the 68th minute.
Mohammedan Sporting had a golden chance to reduce the margin further a couple of minutes later but substitute Jyothi Kumar's header failed to find the target.
Joaquim Abranches, who had earlier missed a scoring opportunity, then rounded off the tally with a firm right footer off a Climax Lawrence pass in 88th minute.