East Bengal lifted themselves up from a gloomy first-half and fired two late goals to blank HAL, Bangalore in their return leg I-League fixture at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.
Saumik Dey provided the crucial opening in the 68th minute with a sharp header while Orji Penn doubled the lead in the dying minutes, much to the relief of the home fans.
The win helped East Bengal (33) jump past leaders Dempo (30) in the standings though the latter were yet to play their 16th round fixture against Shillong Lajong FC on Sunday.
East Bengal, who had routed HAL 8-1 in the first-leg, found themselves in rough waters with a spirited challenge from the Bangalore rivals.
The bottom-placed side who are yet to win from 15 matches kept East Bengal under intense pressure early on and almost took the lead in the 20th minute but Gurpreet Singh did some fine work under the bar to avoid a disaster.
R C Prakash brilliantly took a volley but an alert Gurpreet punched the ball away to safety as they kept on attacking, while East Bengal looked clueless in the first 45 minutes.