A spirited East Bengal rode Beingaichho Beiokhokhei's double strike to register a 2-1 win over Chirag United in their round 24 I-League clash at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Tuesday.
After a dull start to the match with captain Syed Rahim Nabi and Yusif Yakubu missed opportunities, East Bengal scored through man-of-the-match Beiokhokhei in the 40th and 67th minutes.
Chirag United's midfield, which could not control the pace of the game, managed to reduce the margin through Joshimar Martins in the 69th minute.
The victory enabled the Kolkata stalwarts to climb to the eighth spot and scamper out of the drop zone with 28 points from 22 matches.
Chirag United, on the other hand, remained on 32 points, with two matches remaining. They are now winless for seven matches on the trot.
Playing without their star striker Bhaichung Bhutia, who is out because of recurrence of an injury, East Bengal got an early opportunity in the fifth minute when a Beiokhokhei shot was deflected by goal-tender Sandip Nandy which found Yakubu but the Ghanaian could hit the post.
In a 15th minute counter-attack, Chirag's Edmilson had a solo run from the midfield but the Brazilian's half-hearted effort was not enough.
Three minutes later, captain Nabi too squandered an easy chance as the stalemate continued. Chirag also muffed an opportunity in the 28th minute when Ashim Biswas failed to utilise a Gouranga Dutta centre.
Soon after, East Bengal players demanded a penalty as Chirag's R Dhanarajan handled the ball in the box but referee Pradeep Kumar remained unmoved.
But 10 mintues later, the fans erupted in celebration when Beiokhokhei finished a Sanju Pradhan cross from the left to put the Kolkata team 1-0 ahead.
Sanju's cross was brilliantly intercepted by Yakubu near the post as the Ghanaian set it up for Beiokhokhei, who converted it with a sharp right footer.
After the change of ends, Chirag came across a chance in the 61st minute following a Joshimar move from the midfield but an alert Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, East Bengal custodian, averted any damage.
Beiokhokhei made it 2-0 for East Bengal when he latched on to a loose ball and found the net.
Chirag pulled one back two minutes later when a through pass from Denson Devdas helped Joshimar to reduce the margin.