Sunil Chhetri struck a splendid brace as Dempo Sports Club recorded a 3-1 victory over Mohun Bagan in a round 13 I-League match at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda here today.
Dempo struggled in the goal-less first session but turned on the heat after resumption with substitute Nicholau Borges opening the scoring.
Though Mohun Bagan were quick to restore parity through Seuoka Ryuji, the nimble footed Chhetri ended his goal scoring drought with two superb strikes in the closing stages to keep Dempo in pole position.
Dempo could not get the rhythm with Mohun Bagan putting every player behind the ball with the only exception of Brazilian striker Jose Ramirez Baretto.
The local giants were unable to penetrate and the first real chance came for the visitors when Baretto, receiving a fine pass from James Singh in the box, shot at the target but the ball struck the side post of Dempo keeper Laxmkant Katimani.
The change of ends saw a good tussle between the two title contenders but Dempo were patient and kept pressure on their rivals.
The hosts were able to get the vital breakthrough in the 57th minute as a Valeriano Rebello freekick deceived rival defence and winger Nicholau Borges timed his run perfectly to sweep the ball past an agile Shilton Paul.
However, the local side could not keep the lead for long as within three minutes James Singh was allowed too much leeway to supply a teasing cross inside the box where Dempo defenders John Dias as well as Valeriano Rebello failed to intercept allowing Seouka Ruyji to head in past Katimani to silence the crowd.
The sudden equalizer brought out the best from the Goan outfit with substitute Clifton Gonsalves finding easy gaps in the rival rearguard.
Dempo regained their lead in the 78th minute as Chhetri powered a strong header past Shilton after Anthony Pereira fired in one of his trademarks swinging cross from the right flank.
Chhetri provided the icing on the cake five minute before the end when Clifton Gonsalves, with a clever doge, got easily past rival stopper Sheik Azim for Chhetri to find the net with an angular drive.
I-League: Chhetri Stars in Dempo's Win Over Bagan
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