ONGC rode on Yusa Katsumi's late goal to beat heavyweights East Bengal 1-0 and pull off their second major upset of the season, in a 15th round I-League encounter at the Ambedkar stadium in Delhi on Tuesday.
Following the victory, ONGC, who had shocked fancied Dempo 3-0, moved up a rung, to seventh, with 16 points from 14 matches.
East Bengal, who suffered their third defeat this season, stay third, with 27 points from 14 outings.
Katsumi, who was by far the best player on the pitch, broke free in a scintillating solo effort, cut past East Bengal's Arnab Mondal and unleashed a powerful right-footer that rocketed past a diving Abhijit Mondal.
The fleet-footed Japanese playmaker's spadework was the highlight of an otherwise below par football match in which both the teams spurned a hatful of chances.
As expected, East Bengal were on the offensive from the word go. The runners-up of last season knit together a series of attacks, forcing the hosts to sit back and defend. But the red and gold brigade paid dearly for their strikers' profligacy in front of goal.
While Chidi Edeh was off-colour throughout the 90 minutes, Robin Singh forgot to wear his scoring boots.
Apart from Katsumi's brilliance, the hosts' rearguard needs to be credited too for guarding their citadel with elan. The back four, comprising of Robin Gurung, Hassan Adiola, skipper Sandeep Sanga and Sachin Gawas, completely bottled up the likes of Chidi and Penn Orji for long spells.
Goalkeeper Rehenesh T P was at it too, saving a Lalrindika Ralte shot from close range in the 12th minute.
Sporting Clube, Lajong in goalless draw
Sporting Clube de Goa and Shillong Lajong settled for a point each after their ended goalless at the Duler stadium in Mapusa, Goa.
In a lacklustrre affair, devoid of goalmouth action, Lajong saw more of the ball in the first session, while Sporting did well to take control in the second session.
Image: Man of the Match Yusa Katsumi with FIFA Regional Development Officer for South Asia Shaji Prabhakaran and honorary secretary of Delhi Soccer Association Sayeed Saheen.
Photograph: AIFF Media