| Douglas de Silva of East Bengal (right) in a tussle for the ball with Tollygunge Agragamiís Isiaka Awoyemi Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: East Bengalís march towards the National Football League crown continues. They took another step firm step towards that following Saturdayís 2-0 win over Tollygunge Agragami at Salt Lake Stadium.
With this win, East Bengal moved to 43 points from 18 matches, well clear of everybody else. Tollygunge, having performed cerditably so far considering their meagre resources, are on 22 points. A few more can help them sneak in to the top six, which will earn them some prize money.
East Bengal didnít have it easy. They were kept waiting by a tenacious Tollygunge defence till the 66th minute when Douglas de Silva struck and K. Kulothungan got the second one two minutes from time. There wasnít much for East Bengal in the opening session and they were lucky not to concede midway into the second half when Ashim Biswasí push off Akeem Abulalenís pass came off the woodwork.
A shaken East Bengal defence cleared the ball and after it crossed the centre line, East Bengal earned a free-kick. Surya Bikash Chakraborty floated it inside the box and Douglas managed a header, which hit the far post and rolled in.
Trifle lucky, it seemed, considering the fact that the post had denied Tollygunge minutes earlier.
Tollygunge didnít have the steam to hit back and in the dying minutes, Kulothungan latched on to a pass from Douglas, evaded the challenge of Isiaka Awoyemi before slotting home.
East Bengal defenders Dipak Mondal and M. Suresh were booked by referee S. Sujauddin and will meet the next match against JCT ó in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
EAST BENGAL: Sandip Nandy; Surya Bikash Chakraborty, Dipak Mondal, M. Suresh, Subhashish Roy Chowdhury (K. Kulothungan, 76); S. Malsawmtluanga, S. Vankatesh, Chandan Das, Douglas de Silva; Gilmar Goncalves (Dipankar Roy, 22, Subhash Chakraborty, 63), Suley Musah.
TOLLYGUNGE AGRAGAMI: Gopal Das; Amitava Chanda, Isiaka Awoyemi, Deb Kumar Sashmal (Sujit Neogi, 43, Moses Joshua, 74), Manas Das; Mehtab Hussain, Sandip Das, Sujoy Dutta, Srikanta Dutta (Uttam Debnath, 77); Ashim Biswas, Akeem Abulalen.
Referee: S. Sujauddin (Bihar).
Tollygunge Agragami defender Sujit Neogi, who suffered an eye injury following a collision with Suley Musah, is under observation. He was taken to a hospital for primary check-up and is said to be under observation, though at home.