Lalrindika Ralte struck once in each half to help East Bengal down Pune FC 3-1 in a 25th round encounter of the I-League football at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday.
Nigerian Edeh Chidi gave East Bengal the lead early in the first half while substitute Australian striker Mirjan Pavlovic reduced the margin for Pune FC.
The city giant, which is looking to regain the title after a decade, closed the gap on leader Bengaluru FC with its third successive win in the tournament. East Bengal now has 37 points from 21 matches to tie with Salgaocar SC (37 from 22 matches) and is four points adrift of leader Bengaluru FC.
The result: East Bengal 3 (Edeh Chidi 18, Lalrindika Ralte 43, 70) bt Pune FC 1 (Mirjan Pavlovic 58).