Climax Lawerence struck a crucial goal in the second half to help Dempo edge past a fighting East Bengal in the ONGC I-League match at Nehru stadium in Margao on Wednesday.
After a goalless first half, the all important goal came in the 78th minute when a move between Roberto mendes Dsilva and Ranty Martins saw the later play a pass to Lawerence into the box who shot home past keeper Subrata Paul into the net.
Both the teams played attacking game. East Bengal played with more determination as they came with swift counter moves as they caught the rival defense napping often but failed to cash in on couple of chances only to end on the losing side.
Dempo who held more of the ball possession and exchanges made the first move in the seventh minute but Ranty directed his header off the target of a pass from Anthony Pereira.
The win takes Dempo's tally to 17 points from 10 matches, the same as Churchill brothers but are placed fourth because of inferior goal difference.
East Bengal remained on seventh place with 12 points from 10 matches.
East Bengal had a chance to surge ahead but Yusif Yakubu shot was put out by Dempo's custodian Satish Kumar.
Dempo then made move few minutes later through Nicolau Borges and Ranty, who released the ball to better placed Joaquim Abranches but his shot was saved by keeper Subrata Paul.
Dempo kept the pressure on the rival defense and had two chances to score but first Nicolau headed straight into keepers hand and later Climax shot out a cross from Ranty.
With left wing not functioning, Dempo replaced Nicolau and brought in striker Myoyo Iyomi who played upfront and Joaquim Abranches fell back to assist the upfront and Dempo attack looked more purposeful as they made series of raids.
But were unsuccessful as Subrata Paul put up a stiff resistance as he made saves off Mboyo and Anthony Pereira.
East Bengal citadel finally fell in the 78th minute when a move from the right by Roberto Mendes Silva who relayed the ball to Climax Lawerence and he ball and essayed a shot past keeper Subrata Paul to find the net.
Roberto Dsilva had a golden chance in the stoppage time to increase the lead but his well directed shot was put out by diving keeper Paul.
East Bengal coach Stanley Rozario rued the missed chances while Dempo coach Armando Colaco was delighted with his teams' victory.
"We needed a win badly to stay close to sporting Clube De Goa who are leading the table with 22 points. Although my boys did not play to my exceptation but finally it is the three points that matters and I am happy," Colaco said.