Kolkata: East Bengal kept their title hopes alive when they crushed Viva Kerala 3-0 in an I-League match at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Syed Rahim Nabi, Penn Orji and Sushil Singh scored a goal each for the winners.
The win takes East Bengal to 44 points from 21 matches, just 2 behind league leaders Salgaocar SC.
Viva Kerala on the other hand languish at the 10th position with 22 points.
The first goal came in the 18th minute. Right back Nabi`s down-the-middle run split the rival defence and he finished it with a stunning shot to bulge the far corner of the net.
Hardly had the celebrations died down, East Bengal scored the second two minutes later. This time, Penn side-stepped two defenders and made it two-nil with his left-footer.
Sushil drove the final nail in the coffin in the 42nd minute, heading it in from close.
Nabi was adjudged Man of the Match.
An elated East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan said, "We are praying for Dempo`s victory tomorrow. If they beat Salgaocar, it will only brighten our chances."