Kochi: Second-half strikes from Penn Orji and Tolgay Ozbey helped East Bengal to their seventh win of the I-League season, against hosts Chirag United Kerala, at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium on Friday.
The win takes the Red & Gold to the second spot in the points table, just a point behind leaders Dempo Sports Club.
Both the teams started the 11-round encounter cautiously and employed defensive tactics. The first half saw few attempts to score. Though some clear chances were made, the strikers` inability to hit the goal mouth ensured the score remain 0-0 at the lemon break.
The second half saw improved display by East Bengal. Their back line along with defensive midfielder Sushanth Mathew gave Chirag minimal chances on goal in the second period.
The Red and Gold went ahead six minutes into the second half, when, on a corner from Raisangmi Vashum, Orji made no mistake to put the ball in the goal post.
Buoyed by the goal, East Bengal enjoyed possession in the second half.
The only chance Chirag got in the second half was when Anil Kumar, on a cross from Vineeth, headed the ball toward the goal post in 75th minute, but it went over the bar.
The match saw some last-minute action. The man in form Ozbey doubled the lead for the Kolkata side scoring from the spot, after he was brought down in the penalty area by Chirag`s goalie Sharath K. It was the Australian`s ninth goal of the season.