Strong contenders East Bengal edged past a fighting Salgaocar Sports Club 3-2 in an exciting I-League match at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Monday.
While Edmilson (2) and Ashim Biswas scored for the Kolkata outfit, defender Biju Kumar and Felix found the target for the Goan outfit.
After putting up a lacklustre display against Viva Kerala and JCT, East Bengal on Monday put up a comparatively better show, though their opponents also fought well.
East Bengal combined better with strikers Edmilson and Ashim Biswas moving in tandem to fashion of most their attacks. Though East Bengal dominated the proceedings, their defence failed to live up to expectations.
The hosts took the lead in the 19th minute when medio Rahim Nabi released an accurate centre which was nicely headed home by Brazilian Edmilson (1-0).
After the breather, Salgaocar went all out for a leveler and earned it in the 50th minute through Biju Kumar.
East Bengal again moved ahead nine minutes later when wily striker Ashim Biswas headed home to make 2-1.
East Bengal consolidated their lead through a penalty. Edmilson converted the spot kick neatly (3-1).
Salgaocar had to play with 10 men for the last 30 minutes as Ricardo Gomes was shown a red card for kicking Ashim Biswas from behind and then getting involved in a quarrel with East Bengal medio Alvito D'Cunha. Alvito was also cautioned with a yellow card.
Despite the handicap, Salgaocar reduced the margin through Tulunga Felix, their livewire upfront. He was named man of the match.