Tolgay Ozbey struck in the second half to help East Bengal to a 1-0 victory over Pune FC in an eighth round match of the I-League at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.
Their six-match winning juggernaut halted by Mumbai FC in Kolhapur in the previous match, East Bengal faced a tough first-half struggling to find the goal before their Australian star striker brought in the match-winner in the 62nd minute.
East Bengal therefore consolidated their position atop the table with 22 points from eight matches -- seven points clear of second placed Salgaocar -- while Pune FC remained on eight points from as many matches.
Having fluffed an easy chance courtesy Orji Penn less than a minute after the start, East Bengal found it difficult to take the lead against Pune FC as both teams played a goalless first half.
East Bengal medio Penn blundered inside the box with Pune FC custodian Balaji Narsimhan out of place in what could have been an early lead.
Having missed the last match against Mumbai FC due to double booking, Robin Singh started in the line-up to partner Australian Ozbey upfront, but the table leaders seemed to be under pressure.
The Federation Cup and the Calcutta League champions Bengal had another two easy chances inside the first-half, but finishing eluded the side.
Mehtab Hussain's corner in the 21st minute was headed in front of the goal by Robin Singh, but Uga Okpara made a mess of it. Two minutes later Saumik Dey blundered with a Naoba Singh cross in front of an open net.
Pune FC's Brazilian star striker Edmar Figuera returned after recovering from an injury, but that did not help the lacklustre attack.
The red and gold brigade came under pressure after the changeover, but luck favoured the local giants in front of the home crowd with Pune FC missing two easy goals in just four minutes.
Figuera and his striking partner Arata muffed a Sunil Kumar cross in the 55th minute.
Four minutes later, Arata missed what could have been an easy lead for the Pune outfit as the home side defence was tested to the hilt.
But East Bengal brought back smiles with Ozbey breaking the goalless stalemate with an easy goal in the 62nd minute.
The Australian forward notched up his seventh goal after capitalising from a Sanju Pradhan cross to head it home easily.
Having broken the deadlock, the Trevor James Morgan side was a different side, stepping up their attack as Ozbey looked threatening in each move.
The 1-0 scoreline in favour of East Bengal did not portray the exact picture as the luck favoured the visitors with the home side missing at least two more easy goals in the later half of the match.