East Bengal broke a prolonged spell of setbacks when it beat visitor Mumbai FC by a solitary goal here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday. The win, coming after six matches, helped the host dispel relegation fears that have been growing with successive poor results.
Ghanaian striker Yusif Yakubu came good from the spot to help the host gain the decisive lead in the second session.
Looking to break the run of poor form, East Bengal started on an aggressive note and found its initiative paying off as the visitor went back into a defensive huddle.
The host dominated the opening session earning a host of opportunities but the goal remained elusive with the home attackers fumbling with a few good openings in the striking zone.
The Mumbai FC defence too held on employing extra men in its box. Both Yakubu and his compatriot Abel Hammond controlled the East Bengal attack sharing the bulk of the scoring opportunities in the first session.
As the duo struggled to find the Mumbai net, a foul on Hammond by the Mumbai FC defender Kamaljeet Kumar inside his own box opened the possibility for East Bengal in the 60th minute.
Yakubu made no mistake with the resultant penalty to brighten East Bengal's hopes of its first win in the second phase of the tournament. The previous six rounds had fetched five losses and a draw for the home team.
East Bengal created more scoring chances but failed to add to the scoreline as its finishing continued to be mediocre.
The win helped East Bengal tally 24 points from 20 matches while Mumbai FC remained on 21 points after playing as many matches.