Mohun Bagan moved up to the third spot with a solitary goal victory over wooden spooners Salgaocar Sports Club, who put up a good fight, in an I-League engagement in Kolkata on Monday.
Brazilian Jose Barreto headed in the all-important goal in the 34th minute to boost Bagan's points tally to 27 from 15 games at the Salt Lake stadium.
Leaders Dempo Sports Club, Bagan's next rival on Saturday at the same venue, are now on 30 points, one point more than Churchill Brothers.
Salgaocar dominated the show as the Bagan defence was under pressure till the goal was scored after a sudden move that followed a Mohan Raj throw from the left.
Barreto followed the ball to perfection, and outjumped Salgaocar custodian Milagrio Medeira to nod in, triggering jubilation among the Bagan fans in the galleries.
Salgaocar, however, played with gusto after the breather, and were all over their opponents for most part of the latter half, but a valiant show from man of the match Bagan custodian Sangram Mukherjee denied the Goans any points from the match.
Salgaocar, languishing at the bottom of the table with seven points from 15 ties, have now pushed themselves deeper into the relegation zone.