Dempo overcame a first-half deficit to defeat a fighting Viva Kerala 3-1 and returned to the top of the points table after the eighth round of the ONGC I-League at Nehru stadium in Margao on Thursday.
Man-of-the-match Sunil Chettri cancelled Karma T first-half strike in the 72nd minute. Ranty Martins put Dempo ahead 10 minutes later before substitute Joaquim Abranches rounded off the tally.
Dempo, who now have 15 points, share the top spot with Chirag United who played one match less than Dempo's eight. Viva Kerala remained on four points from seven matches.
The visitors started on a promising note as they dictated terms in the middle and went ahead in the 17th minute after missing a close chance.
Sirajuddeen C from the left send a high cross into the box which keeper Tyson Caidado failed to collect as the ball slipped from his hands and Karma T who was behind him headed the ball into the net.
Dempo midfield committed lot of errors as they played close to the defense allowing the rivals to penetrate more often. Reuben Senyo had a chance to increase the lead but keeper Tyson palmed his attempt away to safety.
Dempo, who got into the groove late in the first half, had a good chance in the dying minutes as well but Anthony Pereira failed to strike on target off Clifford Miranda cross.
After the break, Dempo was an altogether a different team as they put their rivals under pressure. They could have equalised early in the second half but first, Roberto Silva shot was saved by rival keeper Sharath K, and later Ranty Martins headed out.
After continuous pressure, Viva Kerala citadel finally crumbled in the 72nd minute. Defender Marcus Peixoto from the middle relayed the ball to Anthony Pereira on the left who send a cross into the box and a diving Sunil Chhetri shot it into the net.
Ranty Martins then put Dempo ahead in the 82nd minute. Accepting a pass, Sunil Chettri took a shot at the goal which keeper Sharath K blocked, and off the rebound Ranty martins shot in.
Substitute Joaquim Abranches then completed the tally when he scored from a loose ball after keeper Sharath and rival defenders failed to clear a long ball from Dempo's keeper Tyson.