A brace from Robin Singh helped East Bengal pip Bhowanipore Club 2-1 in the 116th IFA Shield opener at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Saturday.
The record 27-time champions started their campaign on an attacking note with the Delhi striker giving the lead from a Tolgay Ozbey pass in the fifth minute.
But Bhowanipore did well to counter East Bengal attack and brought on the equaliser at the stroke of 10 minutes when Biswajit Biswas scored from a corner.
East Bengal failed to come up with their usual flair as both teams were locked 1-1 at the end of the first half.
But before it could go out of their hand, Robin struck the winner with a brilliant right-footer seven minutes after the changeover to give East Bengal full points from the Group A league match.
United Kerala face Southern Samity in Group B at Howrah Stadium, while Pune FC take on Pailan Arrows at the East Bengal ground in Group C on Sunday.