A last-minute goal by Valeriano Rebello helped Federation Cup champions Dempo Sports Club, Goa, beat State Bank of Travancore, Thiruvananthapuram 2-1 and also lead the points table in the National Football League for the ONGC Cup in Kozhikode on Sunday.
With this win, the Goan team edged past defending champions East Bengal (33) and Sporting Club (32) to emerge the sole leader in the League with 34 points after 16 rounds.
Dempo resorted to a defensive game in the first half and allowed SBT to go on the attack. But their custodian Satish Kumar, who was adjudged the man-of-the-match, came up with a superb performance to deny scoring opportunities for the rivals.
It was Ranti Martins who netted the first goal for the visitors in the 34th minute, even as an out-of-form SBT goalkeeper, Jean Christian failed to collect the ball neatly.
Desperately needing a win to move up the points table, SBT again went on the attack in the second half. Substitute Mohammed Rafi, coming in for Paul Antony, connected a free kick from Abdul Naushad for the equaliser in the 74th minute.
As the match was in the dying moments with a 1-1 draw on the cards, Rebello shot home a long ranger to give his team the all-important goal.
SBT continues to remain at the bottom of the table with 10 points and will now take on Vasco, Goa in their next outing here on April 13.