Kannur: Formidable East Bengal outfit edged out a fighting Viva Kerala by a solitary goal in a round match in the I-League Football Championship, at the Jawahar Municipal stadium.
The all important winner was scored by East Bengal`s Australian star forward Tolgay Ozbey in the 39th minute.
The Kerala outfit had to blame themselves for the loss, as they missed a number of chances with their forward Nigerian Felix Chimoko fumbling with two consecutive chances in the first half.
In the 27th minute Felix with only East Bengal goalkeeper Sandeep Nandi at his mercy drove the ball out and five minutes later Felix was the culprit again as he failed to control the foul-kick which flew over the cross-piece.
However, in the 39th minute, much against the run of the play, Bengal team drew the first blood which later turned out to be the winner. The spadework for the goal was done by hard working Sanju Pradhan, who backpassed the ball to Ozbey to tap it inside the cage much to the delight of his team members.
The second half witnessed an even contest with both the teams going all out for the goal. East Bengal could have consolidated their position in the 55th minute, but their forward Ugaokpara shot wide off the goalpost.
With time running out, Viva increased the pace of the game and came near scoring the equaliser, but once substitute Murugappa and against sabith fumbled with the opportunity by banging the ball out.