Down by three goals, Dempo fought back superbly through Mboyo Iyomi's hat-trick, the second of the league, to hold Churchill Brothers to an exciting 3-3 draw in an ONGC I-League match at the Nehru stadium, in Margao, Goa, on Wednesday.
Churchill Brothers, who played aggressively in the first half, scored through Felix Chimaokwu (14th, 20th minutes) and Okolie Odafa (32nd).
Dempo fought back in the last quarter of the first half and equalised through goals from Iyomi.
The draw takes Dempo to seven points from five matches while Churchill Brothers have 12 from six.
Churchill Brothers, who controlled the match in the first 30 minutes, capitalised on Dempo's defensive lapses to score thrice.
Dempo played defender Dominic Noronha in place of the regular John Dias to counter the threat of Odafa. But the ploy failed to work as Mahesh Gawli and Dominic concentrated more in guarding Odafa and allowed space for Felix to operate.
The former Salgaocar hit-man took advantage and scored a brace in a span of six minutes to put Dempo under pressure.
Khanthang Paite, from the left, sent a cross which Gawli failed to intercept and Felix sent a firm left footer that found the net in the 14th minute.
Dempo's defence got beaten yet again when a lob from Robert Lalthalma from the left found Odafa, who took a shot at goal.
Goalkeeper Satish Kumar manged to block the shot but the deflection went to Felix whose shot hit the underside of the bar and crossed the line.
Churchill Bros kept on the pressure and increased the tally in the 32nd minute when Kalu Ogba split the defense with a through pass to Odafe, who took a few steps before sending a stiff grounder to find the far end of the net.
Churchill tried to relax after their 3-0 cushion but Dempo did not lose hope despite being down by three goals. They tried to beat the rival defense with long ball and succeeded in scoring twice.
Man of the match Iyomi, who played his heart out upfront, received a pass inside the box, took a shot at goal, the ball deflected off defender Robert and eluded keeper Arindam Bhattacharya.
The goal acted as a tonic for Dempo and they scored another goal in the stoppage time when Iyomi headed in a cross from defender Valeriano Rebello.
The change of ends saw Dempo dictating terms in midfield as they tried to find the equalizer. They succeeded in finding the net in the 75th minute when Iyomi scored with a powerful header from a Domnic Noronha pass following a corner from the right.
Churchill tried their best to score the winner but Odafe was closely marked. They found the net in the dying minute through Kalu Ogba off a pass from Odafe but referee Dinesh Nair ruled Kalu off-side. This infuriated Churchill Brothers patron Churchill Alemao, who was in the VIP gallery. He rushed to Match Commissioner J P Singh and exchanged words with him before snatching the papers from his table and flinging them back.