The Flaming Orange came from three goals down to hold the Golden Eagles.
Dempo SC wasted an easy opportunity to go on top even after leading by three goals as Sporting Clube de Goa came from behind to hold them to a high scoring 4-4 draw in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium on Wednesday.
With a hard-earned point, Sporting Goa retain the top position with 20 points, while Dempo climbed to 2nd place with 18 points.
Sporting coach Savio Vaz fielded an unchanged XI from a massive 5-0 win over Panjim Footballers in the last match, while Kirtikesh Gadekar was the lone change for Dempo who earned a hard-fought solitary goal win over Vasco SC in the previous match.
It was a goal fest at the Duler Stadium, which started with a goal from the Flaming Orange in the 5th minute when Myron Fernandes made a curling cross from the short corner to Akeraj Martins who flicked it to Gourav Kankonkar. The tall midfielder later just headed the ball home from close to put his side into an early lead.
Dempo never gave up and came out stronger after conceding a goal and found the equaliser within three minutes as Uttam Rai found himself at the end of a long ball from Shallam where the striker covered some ground before finishing it in the net making it 1-1.
It was just two more minutes on the clock when Dempo were awarded a penalty kick as Pedro Gonsalves’ powerful strike was handled by Sporting’s Joel Colaco. Uttam stepped forward and calmly scored from the spot to make it 2-1 for the Golden Eagles.
Energized by two quick goals, Dempo found another breakthrough in the 27th minute as this time Sporting Goa defender Alton Vaz and Kunal Kundaikar failed to clear Uttam’s cross. Desmon Pereira took advantage of the error and headed the ball in an empty net from close range.
Uttam who was influential throughout the match, completed his hat-trick in the 29th minute when Richard Cardoz’s cross was deflected by Desmon where the clinical forward just had to tap the ball home to put the Golden Eagles into the driver’s seat.
At the other end, Sporting Goa pulled one back in the 31st minute from the spot as their Nigerian forward Philip Odogwu was brought down in the box by Dempo defender Shallum Pires. Sporting defender Kunal made no mistake from the spot to reduce the margin for his side.
On crossing over, Sporting showed the urgency to equalise and in one of their attack, Dempo’s midfielder Kirtikesh who was booked in the first session made a reckless tackle on Marcus Mascarenhas to give away a freekick in the dangerous area. The midfielder was also shown the second yellow card and given the marching orders by referee Mario Pereira.
Sporting’s set-piece specialist Gourav stepped forward and directly went for glory from the 20-yard free-kick where Dempo keeper Melroy Fernandes dived to his right to block his goal bound strike. However, the loose ball was netted by an unmarked Joel to make it 4-3.
Finally, Gaurav scored the stunner in the 68th minute when his long ranger gave no chance to Dempo’s diving keeper Melroy and entered the top corner making it all square.