KOLKATA: Kingfisher East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan by a solitary goal in a seventh round match in the National Football League here on Tuesday.
The match saw both the sides dominating a session each but it was East Bengal which found the target, through Saumik Dey's 15th minute goal, to earn full points.
East Bengal tallied 14 points from four wins, two draws and a loss, to go ahead of Dempo SC and defending champion Mahindra United. The last two teams are now tied on 11 points but have played a match less than East Bengal. Bagan is on seven points from as many matches.
Absence of key striker Baichung Bhutia, who had to sit out due to injury, hampered Bagan's chances. Bagan, playing under its new coach Chima Okerie, also lost the services of Brazilians Jose Barreto and Favio Vidal, both of whom were replaced in the first session with fitness problems. As Bagan counted the growing list of injuries, East Bengal took advantage of the situation as Dey stuck the decisive goal early in the first session.
Bagan tried to make a comeback after the interval making repeated inroads into the East Bengal box. But the equaliser remained elusive as East Bengal custodian Abhra Mondal stood firm under the bar thwarting three close attempts by Bagan striker Lalawpuia. Principal Correspondent