Mohun Bagan got the better of Federation Cup winners Mahindra United, who have already been assured of the 10th National Football League crown, 2-1 in Mumbai on Friday to keep their chances alive of finishing runners-up in the tournament.
Bagan went all out for a victory over Mahindras, who left out a number of their key players including the strike duo of Joes Luis Baretto and Yasif Yakubo besides skipper Shanmugham Venkatesh, and pumped in two goals in the first half before the local squad reduced the margin through a penalty award in the second half.
The victory helped Bagan increase their points tally to 24 points from 15 matches while Mahindra stayed on 35 from 16.
Dipendu Biswas scored for Bagan in superb fashion in the 20th minute when he used Coffi Agbnessi as a wall with a diagonal pass to the left and got the ball back on the right inside the penalty area before scoring with an angular shot to the far corner.
The Kolkata team doubled their lead through Dharamjit Singh, who took advantage of Mahindra custodian Sandip Nandy's mistake to lob into an empty goal.
Mahindra, who muffed a few chances to score in the opening half, made it 2-1 in the 62nd minute when Rauf Khan converted a spot kick awarded following the foul on diminutive striker K Anees by Bagan defender Eduafdo Chacon following a cross into the box by Steven Dias.