Margao: Two first-half goals helped Dempo SC to open their I-League second phase campaign on a winning note, as they edge past Chirag United Kerala 2-1 in a 14th round match and stay at the top of the table, at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda here.
Goals from Clifford Miranda (4th) and Ranty Martins (25th) helped Dempo stay at the top with 30 points from 14 matches.
Chirag, who reduced the margin through Vineeth in the 28th minute, remained on 12th position with 11 points from 14 matches.
Unlike their last game, in which Dempo played a lethargic game to lose against Prayag United, the home side started brightly today, as they showed a lot of urgency in their attack and created handful of chances.
But their strikers either failed to cash in on the chances or failed to beat rival keeper Sharath K, who made good saves to prevent Dempo winning with bigger margin.
Dempo surged ahead in the fourth minute when Peter Carvalho worked his way down the middle and relayed the ball to Clifford Miranda on the left, who tapped the ball into the net.
Eleven minutes later, Clifford Miranda had a golden opportunity to increase the lead but he headed out with open goal in front of him off a cross from Peter Carvalho.
Dempo kept on the tempo, as they attacked the rival goal with vigour and increased the lead in the 25th minute.
Clifford Miranda and Climax Lawerence made a combined move and laid a pass to Anthony Pereira, who, in turn, relayed the ball to Ranty Martins, who shot past rival keeper Sharath.
The visitors, who were busy defending their citadel, came with counter moves and reduced the margin with a gem of a goal in the 28th minute.
A quick build up from a counter move saw Vignesh put the ball for Vineeth C K inside the box, who back volleyed the ball into the net.
Thereafter, Dempo had two clear chances to swell the lead, but first Climax Lawrence failed to find the net, as his shot hit the post and went out and later Sameer Naik`s weak effort was saved by diving keeper Sharath.
Dempo continued to enjoy upper hand after the change of ends and had four clear chances, but Chirag keeper denied Clifford and Peter Carvalho from scoring.
Dempo brought in Koko Sakibo in place of Joy Ferrao but the striker missed an easy chance as he failed to guide his header into the net off a Climax cross.
Towards the end of match, Koko had another chance but this time his shot was saved by the keeper with his outstretched legs.
Chirag`s best chance to find the equaliser was midway in the second half, when Asif K deceived the rival defence with a low cross, which found Vineeth clear inside the box, but he failed to score, as he drove the ball out.