Salgaocar Sports Club overcame stiff second half resistance from Prayag United SC, to score a solitary goal victory in the 19th round I League match, at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Goa on Monday.
Edeh Chidi headed the only goal of the match in the 21st minute.
The win helped Salgaocar maintain their 10-match unbeaten streak as the defending champions have now climbed to the fifth point behind Churchill Brothers.
Prayag United, with 32 points, had a chance to occupy the second slot but the visitors were themselves to blame for some poor finishing, notably in the second session.
Salgaocar were not at their fluent best, but with Chidi scoring the only goal of the match, they didn't have to do much. Ryuji Sueoka was in fine form but the Japanese striker could not come up with the killer touch that would have translated some good moves into goals.
Salgaocar surged ahead in the 19th minute when Chidi did well to head Randeep singh's freekick into the top corner of the nets. The Nigerian midfielder came up with another snap header towards the closing stages of the first session but Prayag goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal proved equal to the challenge.
Prayag were a transformed side in the second session but the visitors were pegged back since Yusif Yakubu was a pale shadow of his former self and Brazilian striker Josimar Martins was unable to keep his attempts on target.
The best chance fell at the feet of James Singh. The midfielder was nicely fed on the platter by Yakubu but James could not beat the onrushing goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.
At the other end, Mondal was kept busy by Chidi. The goalkeeper had to make acrobatic saves to deny Ryuji Sueoka and Chidi.
Man of the Match was awarded to Salgaocar's Karanjit Singh.
Mumbai FC stun Churchill Brothers 2-1
Mumbai FC registered their first victory in seven matches, when they seriously hurt Churchill Brothers' title hopes with an inspiring 2-1 win in the 19th round I League match, at the Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune, on Monday.
This was Mumbai's first win in 2012, that will also help them stay away from drop zone for some more time as the Essel Group-promoted outfit went six points clear of Chirag United Kerala.
Mumbai now have 17 points from 19 matches, while Chirag is on 11 from 18 with their one game against Pailan Arrows to be played on a later date.
Churchill remain on 33 points, but their bargaining power of having played one game less than other top teams fizzled out with Monday's loss.
Both Churchill and Mumbai began at brisk pace. Churchill deservedly took the lead when Henry Antchouet, who played from midfield to upfront moved from the left before sending a cross into the box. Beto was lurking around there, but realizing that he was heavily marked the Brazilian cleared the ball for ND Opara, who put Churchill 1-0 ahead in the 20th minute.
The equalizer came as a blinder as Gbeneme Friday had moved up in the right corner, from where the Nigerian sent a measured pass into the box. Lalwmpuia was on target but Bhattacharya punched it out only to see the ball go straight to Cavin Lobo.
On resumption, Mumbai FC began in the same pace -- a few wild shots off the target showed their intentions.
In between Henry suffered a cut on his head but still he went in and played after heavy bandage was wrapped around his head. But even for final whistle was blown, Churchill seemed to resign to end the match in a draw before Dhanachandra Singh scored the winner.
Cavin Lobo was adjudged man of the match.