Lalrindika Ralte scored a late winner against Tamipnes Rovers to help East Bengal continue its winning run in the AFC Cup in Kolkata on Tuesday.
East Bengal won the fourth round encounter of the Group H 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium and cemented its position on top of the standings.
Nigerian Edeh Chidi gave East Bengal the lead in the first half before Mohamad Shaiful restored parity for Rovers midway in the second half.
The third win in four appearances helped East Bengal tally 10 points. The city giant has remained undefeated so far having drawn the one other match. This brought East Bengal closer to qualifying for the pre-quarterfinals.
Coach Trevor Morgan was forced to alter the winning combination of the previous match due to a jersey mix up, which he acknowledged after the match.
According to Morgan the two Nigerians in the side — Chidi and defender Uga Okpara — forgot to bring the proper jerseys forcing him to make last minute changes.
Despite the absence of the two key foreign players East Bengal earned many chances but its forwards — Australian Andrew Barisc and Manandeep Singh — wasted all opportunities.
Barisic, who was injured later, was replaced in the 15th minute by Chidi, whose jersey arrived five minutes after the kick-off.
Chidi’s inclusion added more punch to the home team attack and the player found the net in the 22nd minute with a blinding half-volley.
Tampines Rovers found the equaliser off a set-piece situation in the 68th minute when Shaiful curled in a free-kick past East Bengal goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal.
With the match heading towards a draw, Ralte scored the winner with a delectable pile-driver.
East Bengal 2 (Edeh Chidi 22, Lalrindika Ralte 86) bt Tampines Rovers 1 (Mohamad Shaiful 68).