Jose Barreto notched up a personal hattrick against Dempo but he would have traded that for the cross that NS Manju headed home deep in second-half stoppage time. It completed Mohun Bagan's hattrick against the I-League champions and more importantly, it kept the heat on leaders Churchill Brothers. Both teams are on 43 points with one round to go.
Playing their best football since dislodging Sporting Clube from the top, Bagan camped in Dempo’s territory, but just when their failure to take their chances, up stepped Barreto.
The Brazilian latched onto the long ball from Rakesh Masih, and lobbed, while Manju, running in, bounced the header. The bare-chested celebration fetched Manju a yellow card, who along with Marcos Perreira, Lalkamal Bhowmick and Masih will miss the final with double bookings.
Bagan scored the first goal of the match. James Singh stole from Beto and found Perreira who with Barreto in front decided to play it forward Barreto rifled a right-foot drive past the goalkeeper. Early in the second half, Anthony Pereira found Ranty Martins who got the equaliser.
Result: MB 2: (Barreto 25; Manju 93); Dempo 1: (Martins 56)