Kolkata giants East Bengal finished their league engagements in style as they beat Haywards 2000 Sporting Club, Goa, 2-1 in the eighth National Football League at the Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa, on Wednesday.
East Bengal, who dominated the first half, had to wait till injury time of the half to open their account as Haywards custodian Felix D'Souza came up with three saves -- twice off Baichung Bhutia and once off Cristiano junior.
Play was stopped for few minutes when a section of the crowd from the South stand tried to invade the ground after referee Rizwan-Al-Haq awarded a penalty to East Bengal after defender Mehrajuddin brought down Bhutia inside the box.
Timely intervention by the police saw things under control.
The resultant penalty was converted by Brazilian striker Cristiano Junior, who beat Felix to his left with a high shot.
Junior again scored 15 minutes after the interval when he tapped a cross from Malsawmtlunga from the left to score his 15th goal and become the highest scorer this season.
He finished with a goal more than Yusif Yakubu of Churchill Brothers.
Haywards, who fought back in the second half, reduced the margin in the 84th minute through a penalty.
The penalty was awarded after East Bengal custodian Sandip Nandy, while trying to block a powerful shot from Francis Andrade, brought down Abdul Latif Seriki inside the danger area.
Seriki, who took the kick, converted it.
East Bengal finished their league engagements with garnered 49 points from 22 matches while Haywards remained in eighth place with 27 points from 22 matches.
With the top six teams spotted, champions East Bengal pocketed Rs four million [40 lakh] while second-placed Dempo, Goa, and third-placed Mumbai outfit Mahindra United got Rs 2.2 million [22 lakh] and Rs 1.6million [16 lakh] respectively.
Goan outfit Churchill Brothers, JCT, Paghwara, and Vasco, Goa, had to be content with Rs 900,000, Rs 500,000 and Rs 300,000 respectively.
With Indian Bank, Chennai, already relegated to the Second Division, the second team to be relegated will be known on May 14 when Kolkata outfits Tollygunge Agragami (20 points) and Mohammedan Sporting (19), who are fighting to avoid relegation play their last matches, Mahindra United and Dempo respectively.