Barasat:Naojangud Shivananju Manju found the nets in the dying moments to help Mohun Bagan register 2-1 victory over defending champion Dempo and keep their title hopes alive in the ONGC I-League football.
In the floodlit match at Vidyasagar Krirangan here on Sunday, both the teams were locked 1-1 during the second-half, before Manju scored in the fourth minute of the injury time to help Mohun Bagan snatch full points and join Churchill Brothers on top of the tally with 43 points each.
Mohun Bagan drew first blood through Barreto in 28th minute, while Ranty Martins equalised for Dempo in 55th minute to bring the match on an even keel.
Locked 1-1, both sides failed to score during stipulated 45 minute of the second-half.
But an alert Manju utilised a Barreto cross to maximum as he used head to guide the ball into the Dempo net.
Mohun Bagan enjoyed a better ball position during the proceedings and almost scored their second in the first-half but a dubious decision of referee Rizwan ul-Haq, who declared a foul against Bhaichung Bhutia in the 34th minute, disallowed a goal.
During the dramatic match, Mohun Bagan captain Bhutia received a yellow card when he was attempting to score in the 26th minute from a Marcos Pereira freekick. But the Indian captain was found guilty of handling the ball inside the box.
But Karim Bencherifa's boys did not have to wait much longer as the Brazillian duo of Marcos and Baretto put the team ahead two minutes later.
A cross from Marcos had Baretto unmarked inside the box and a clinical right-footer from the right found the back of the net as Dempo custodian Abhijit Mondal was taken by surprise.
Bhaichung found the net from a Marcos freekick as the captain headed it to perfection. But all his effort went in vain as Rizwan ruled out the goal for fouling defender Mahesh Gawli.
However, from the TV replays it seemed that Bhaichung pushed Gawli after scoring the goal.
The start of second half was delayed by eight minutes as Dempo complained of less security for their players.
The second-half yielded the equaliser for Dempo who scored 10 minutes after the changeover. An Anthony Pereira cross from the right flank found Ranty unmarked as the ace striker headed it to make it 1-1.
Desperate for a win, Bencherifa's boys pushed harder but luck eluded them.