Kolkata: East Bengal rode on an Edeh Chidi first-half strike and some moments of luck to pip Pune FC 1-0 in a round three I-League fixture on Monday.
Man-of-the-Match Chidi scored the winning goal in the 28th minute from a rebound after Pune’s Srikanth Ramu failed to clear a ball and the Nigerian placed it to the right of opponent goalkeeper Shahinlal Meloly.
East Bengal now have seven points and move up to fourth place behind Dempo, Prayan and Pailan Arrows. Their victory also means that Shillong Lajong drop down to seventh place.
Pune remain with six points and have dropped to sixth place.
Besides Chidi’s match-winner it was East Bengal goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal who stood tall under the bar before pulling out in the second-half after picking up an injury.
In fact, the scoreline could have easily read 3-0 in favour of East Bengal at half time but two misses by Manandeep Singh and Chidi meant that the hosts had to remain content with the solitary goal.
It turned out costly for Pune as they had missed a chance in the eighth minute when Arata Izumi failed to capitalise on a Karma Tsewang cross.
Afterwards, East Bengal dominated the show.
In the very first threat for the visitors, Penn beat Caitano Costa on right, chipping for Manandeep Singh, who went over defender Srikanth Ramu.
In another move, Penn was again on the right to find Chidi who failed to connect from inside box.
Barring one move by East Bengal, it was Pune FC who stole the show in the last 45 minutes but only to see the luck favouring the home side.
East Bengal held on to their slender lead with a hat-trick of misses by Jeje Lalpekhula in the later stage of the match.
“We were under immense pressure in the second half… There were a few strokes of luck. You need luck and today we take that,” EB coach Trevor Morgan conceded. (PTI)