East Bengal rode on a Ranty Martins strike to pip debutants DSK Shivajians by a solitary goal in the I-League football tournament at the Vidyasagar Krirangan in Barasat in West Bengal on Tuesday.
The Nigerian struck the all-important goal at the halfway mark from a rebound after Mohammad Rafique's shot from a corner kick hit the crosspiece.
The qualifiers from Pune were impressive in the second period and very nearly brought on their first I-League goal and the equaliser in the 73rd minute.
But the crosspiece came to the rescue of a lucky red and gold brigade who returned unscathed and with three points in their kitty.
Mohammad Rafi's throw-in was cleared off by Saumik Dey but Shivajians mideo Israil Gurung took the possession and shot it in the path of East Bengal defender Bello Rasaq whose deflection hit the bar.
Shivajians kept East Bengal on the edge with their raids but the Derrick Pereira-coached side solely missed a natural goal scorer as they struggled to get their first goal.
Having returned to winning ways after two matches, East Bengal climbed to second place with eight points from four outings, one point adrift of former champions Bengaluru FC who sit on the summit with one match in hand.
East Bengal next face former champions Bengaluru FC at home on Saturday.
Image: East Bengal's star players Ranty Martins