Title contenders Mahindra United and Churchill Brothers were dealt severe blows as bottom-rung teams Lajong FC and Sporting Clube de Goa pulled off shock wins on I-League's Super Saturday, which saw five ties all over the country.
Henry Ezeh scored a hattrick to help JCT thrash Viva Kerala 5-1; a win that saw them catapult from 11th to seventh spot. Mohun Bagan meanwhile ended their five-match dry run with an emphatic 4-0 win over a hapless Air India.
Mahindra United, who slumped to their first away loss this season, were the worst hit by the loss. Chasing leaders Dempo, a win would have allowed them to cut the gap down to just one point. Mahindra and Churchill stayed on 37 and 32 points, while Dempo lead the pack with 41 points from 21 matches.
Mohammed Rafi gave Mahindra the lead in the eighth minute but Lajong FC came back strongly in the second half to pull level through Boithang Haokip. Nigerian recruit Daniel Bidemi nodded in James Gbilee's pass in the dying minutes to help Lajong bag a much-needed three points. The win saw Lajong FC jump to 10th spot with 24 points.
In Margao, Junior Obagbemiro's double strike ended Churchill Brothers hopes of retaining the title. Felix Chimaokwu cancelled out Junior's first goal through a penalty in the 87th minute but Junior scored in the very next minute, taking 10-man Sporting Clube to their third successive win. Samananda Singh was sent off for elbowing Ogba Kalu, which gave Churchill the penalty.