Ranty Martins scored a goal in each half to guide Dempo to 2-1 victory over JCT to remain at the top of the pole position in the 18th round of the I-League, played at the Nehru Stadium in Margao on Saturday.
Dempo who held more of the exchanges took the lead in the 22nd minute through Ranty Martins.
JCT restored parity through a controversial penalty in the first minute of the stoppage time of the first half.
Dempo who dominated the second half scored the winner in the 82nd minute when Ranty Martins slotted the ball into the net after Roberto Silva failed to guide the ball off a cross from Anwar Ali from the left.
The win took Dempo to 35 points from 18 matches to remain five points clear of second place Mahindra United. JCT remained on 7th position with 22 points from equal number of matches.
The first half was fought on even note as both the teams failed to get the better of each other's defence. Dempo who enjoyed the ball possession had the first clear chance to surge ahead but Ranty Martins failed to guide his header on target from inside the box off a cross from Nicolau Borges from the left which came to him via Roberto Silva.
However, Ranty Martins made amends for his lapse one minute later when he beat the onrushing Keeper Karanjit Singh to find the net off a forward pass from Joaquim Abranches.
Dempo who enjoyed territorial advantage in the first half had a chance to increase the lead but Joaquim Abranches shot out after Keeper Karnjit Singh charged out to tackle him off a pass from Ranty Martins.
JCT who came with occasional foray restored parity in the stoppage time of the first through a controversial penalty.
JCT's Penn Ikechukwu Orji and Dempo's Anthony Pereira were running parallel for the ball inside the box. Orji who came in contact of Anthony's leg as the latter went for a tackle and lost his control and fell down.
Referee Kamil pulled Anthony for a foul and awarded a penalty, which Baljit Sahni converted it. Even as keeper Laxmikant Kattimani made a valiant attempt as he dived to his left and got his hands but could not prevent the ball going into the net.
Dempo coach Armando Colaco ploy to push Medio Roberto Silva upfront and replacing Joaquim Abranches with Peter Rodrigues and later Nicolau Borges with Clifford Miranda worked well and the rival defence was under constant threat.
So intense was the pressure as the players lost their cool and JCT defender Daljit Singh and Dempo's Anthony Pereira exchanged blows and referee Kamil had to intervene to separate them and later showed yellow card to them.
Dempo kept on the pressure and had two clear chances to take the lead but first Roberto Silva failed to head the ball into the net and later his shot deflected a defender and went out.
Roberto's another attempt from a distance as he curled a long ranger, which Keeper Karanjit Singh managed to, tipped the ball over the bar.
With pressure building up on JCT defence, a goal was imminent and Dempo finally scored the winner in the 82nd minute.
Defender Anwar Ali worked his way on the left and sent a low cross into the box which first Roberto Silva failed to tap in. Ranty Martins who was following the ball guided the ball into the net to give Dempo full points.