Title Aspirant Dempo suffered second defeat in a row as they went down to Salgaocar 2-3 in the 16th round of the I-League, played at Nehru stadium on Sunday.
Salgaocar, who led 2-1 at half time, scored through man of the match Ekene Ikenwa (43rd, 66th) and Roouhollah Samiena (38th).
While Ranty Martins(33rd) and Anwar Ali(60th) reduced the margin for the loser.
Dempo, who suffered the set back when their striker Sunil Chhetri had to be released to play for Kansas Ciy Wizards in the Major League championship in America and coach Armando had no choice but to play playmaker Roberto Silva along with Ranty Martins in the upfront.
Peter Carvalho who filled the gap of Roberto as a central midfielder lacked the creativeness to pierce the rival defense who along with Luciano Sabrosa and Rouhollah Samienia gave good account of themselves to blunt their moves.
Both the teams played cautiously in the beginning. Dempo opened the rival defense from the left but Ranty Martins twice and Cresson Antao failed to beat the rival keeper Kalyan Chaubey under the bar.
However, Dempo went ahead in the 33rd capitalizing on defender Rouhollah Samiena mistake who failed to clear a long ball from Nicolau Borges from the left, Ranty Martins who was behind Rouhollah, pounced on the ball and despatched the ball into the net past keeper Kalyan Chaubey to find the back of the net.
Salgaocar regrouped quickly and scored two goals in a span of four minutes to lead 2-1 at half time.
Francis Fernandes took the flag kick, floated the ball to Melwyn Rodrigues who headed to Rouhollah Samienia, who headed the ball into the net in the 38th minute, to make amends for his earlier mistake.
Four minutes later, Ekene M Ikenwa latched on a long lob from the right inside the box, beat his marker before dispatching the ball into the net with a left footer.
Changing over, Salgaocar created early chances but Ekene failed to cash on the chances as he first drove the ball straight to keeper Laxmikant Katimani hands and later shot out. After these close misses, Dempo found the equalizer in the 60th minute when Anwar Ali found the net from inside the box off a free kick taken by Climax Lawerence.
But Dempo's joy was shortlived when Salgaocar scored the winner six minutes later when Ekene Ikenwa won a ball inside the box, took a rival defender in his stride and uncorked a right footer that brushed the post before finding the net. Dempo worked hard in the closing minutes to find the equaliser but luck failed to shine on them as Climax Lawerence shot kissed the cross bar and went out off a pass from Roberto Silva.
Dempo who suffered their second defeat in a row still remained at the top of the table on account of superior goal difference with 29 points each along with Mahindra United, While Salgaocar moved up with 18 points from 16 atches.