East Bengal returned to winning ways, downing the current league leader Bengaluru FC 2-0 in a rain-impeded seventh round encounter of the I-League at the Kalyani Stadium on Saturday.
Looking to get back on track after its semifinal loss in the AFC Cup earlier in the week, East Bengal was helped by Bengaluru FC striker Robin Singh, who scored an own goal, before South Sudanese striker James Moga doubled the lead in injury-time.
Bengaluru FC suffered its first defeat after remaining unbeaten in its first five matches. With persistent rain, the contest was marred by heavily underfoot conditions.
East Bengal remained the aggressor for the greater part of the action, though the visitor did well with some spectacular counterattacks.
The East Bengal attack suffered some initial nerves as its Nigerian striker Edeh Chidi missed a couple of close-range chances.
With the East Bengal midfield — aided by some good passing from captain Mehtab Hossain and Cavin Lobo — sending some good assists, the host had many opportunities to find the net in a barren first half.
The Bengaluru side came close to stealing the lead in the 27th minute when its English defender Curtis Osano saw his sharp header from a corner well saved by East Bengal custodian Abhijit Mondal.
Robin Singh, appearing as a 46th minute substitute for Bengaluru FC, compounded matters for the visitor by miscuing an attempted clearance into his own goal.
Robin tried to clear a swerving corner from East Bengal midfielder Lalrindika Ralte in the 49th minute, but his effort was ineffective as the ball deflected off his head and went straight into goal.
Robin tried to make amends in the next few minutes, but his attempt to find the equaliser came off the East Bengal crossbar.
The East Bengal defence held off the rest of the Bengaluru attack before Moga doubled the lead in the dying minutes.
The result: East Bengal 2 (Robin Singh 49-OG, James Moga 90+4) bt Bengaluru FC 0.