Defending champions Goa sizzled to overcome strong contenders Bengal 2-0 in a quarter-final league match of the National football championship, for the Sanoths Trophy, in Gurgaon on Monday.
Recovering from a surprising loss to Punjab in their first match, the Goans rode on goals from Peter Carvalho and Fredy Masceranhas to emerge victors.
In another match today, Punjab and Haryana played out an unimpressive goalless draw.
Bengal gave a much improved performance than their lacklustre 1-0 win over Haryana, but still had to bow to the superior display of the Goans.
The 29-time champions had better co-ordination and Sanehashish Chakravorty and Saumik Dey initiated some fine moves.
Goa responded in the 26th minute with Fredy Mascarenhas taking a strong shot from the edge of the box, which was tipped over by Kalyan Chaubey, who replaced an injured Sandip Nandy.
The defending champions then lifted their game and a dangerous cross from Samir Naik was fisted away by the goalkeeper.
In the 30th minute, Carvalho found himself unmarked on a Wilton Gomes corner. While his first header was blocked by Syed Rahim Nabi, he made no mistake to tap in the rebound.
Bouyed by the goal, Anthony Pereira and Wilton Gomes started testing the Bengal defence every now and then.
Shyam Mondal led a Bengal counter, heading just over in the 36th minute.
Rahim Nabi got a golden chance to equalise just before the breather, but he failed to control the ball after getting behind the defence.
Bengal played with more urgency in the second half, but could not test rival goalkeeper Luis Barreto, who was happy to see the ball sail past him on most occasions.
Goa ensured full points for themselves when a centre from Wilton Gomes was palmed away by Chaubey. But Mascarenhas shot home the winner in the final minute.
The result now leaves the group wide open with all teams in the running for a semi-final berth.
Earlier, the Punjab-Haryana match turned out to be a tame affair with the only talking point being the sending off of Ishwar Singh of the host team in the last minute of the game.
Punjab, who were very impressive, in the 2-0 demolition of Goa in their first match, were a pale shadow of themselves today.
Bengal coach Prasanto Banerjee blamed the midfield for the defeat.
"There was not much supply from the midfield to the attackers. There was an improvement in our play but two defensive lapses led to the goals. Also our forwards were not on target."
Goa coach Mauricio Afonso lauded the improved performance of his side, but said they are not safe yet.
"We need to be on our guard against Haryana as they can be a tough team to beat."