| Edmilsons goal was not enough |
Mumbai: Mahindra United defeated East Bengal 2-1 in a closely fought ONGC I-league encounter that put the home team three points ahead of the Calcutta giants in the standings.
Debabrata Roy (own goal, 31st minute) and Mohammed Rafi (71st) came to Mahindras aid while Edmilson (50th) scored the solitary goal for East Bengal.
In the 81st minute, Mahindra were reduced to 10 men with Bello Rasaq receiving the marching orders after he knocked down Edmilson. Mahindras Sushanth Mathew was declared the MoM.
Mahindra got off to a shaky start as the visitors were aggressive from the early minutes. However, East Bengal conceded an own-goal against the run of play. Abhra Mondal charged out to collect a Steven Dias shot, but the ball was deflected off defender Debabrata and rolled into the net, catching the keeper off the guard.
After the change of ends, East Bengal were awarded a free-kick after Sukhwinder Singh committed a foul at the edge of the box. Edmilson equalised from the free-kick.
Mahindra pulled up their socks, finding the winner through Rafi.
After the match, Mahindra coach Derrick Pereira said that Edmilsons behaviour would be reported to the match commissioner for allegedly spitting on a Mahindra player.
In other matches, Churchill Brothers thrashed Viva Kerala 5-0 in Margao while, in Ludhiana, JCT rode a brace by their Brazilian forward Eduardo da Silva to beat Sporting Club de Goa 4-2. (Agencies)