East Bengal pip Mahindra 2-1

Title holders East Bengal continue their resurgence pipping leaders Mahindra United 2-1 in a National Football League match in Kolkata today.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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Title holders East Bengal continued their resurgence pipping leaders Mahindra United 2-1 in an absorbing but temper-scarred National Football League tussle here today. After sliding to a lowly eighth spot in the league table with four consecutive defeats, the glamour side have now won three matches on the trot to signal a strong comeback in the high-profile tournament. Following a barren first half which saw East Bengal dominate but muff up several rosy chances, the match came alive after the breather as all the three goals were scored within a space of eight minutes. Mahindra, pushed onto the defensive by relentless East Bengal raids, went ahead against the run of play in the 66th minute through S Venkatesh, but their joy was shortlived as the home side drew parity barely two minutes later. The modest crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium breathed a sigh of relief as substitue Dipendu Biswas headed in following a free kick, before Ghanaian Suley Musah capped his sparkling performance by netting the winner with a powerpacked 74th minute grounder. The match was, however, marred by repeated display of frayed tempers by players of both sides, making it increasingly difficult for Tamil Nadu referee Pradeep Kumar to keep the situation under control. Mahindra were reduced to ten men for the last ten minutes after their reliable wing back Anthony Pereira was given marching orders for rough play. With today's win, East Bengal now have 20 points while Mahindra stay on 23. Both have played 13 matches. (PTI)