Kolkata: A second-half strike by Tolgay Ozbey helped East Bengal register a solitary goal win over Salgaocar to climb up to the top of the standings after their fifth straight win in the I-League at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.
East Bengal`s winning moment came in the 60th minute as they put up yet another commanding show to pocket three points and lead the table with 15 points, while Salgaocar remained on 12 points.
The top of the table clash lived up to the expectations with some fighting display by both the teams in the goalless first-half.
Eyeing to consolidate their position on top of the league standings, both the teams started in attacking mode with Salgaocar defence giving some tough times from East Bengal.
Salgaocar attack led by Ghanaian Yusif Yakubu and Japanese Ryuji Sueoka also tested the local giants defence who were yet to concede a goal after four outings in the league.
Playing an all-out attacking game, the Trevor James Morgan-coached side had the best chance of the first-half in the 17th minute but Salgaocar custodian Karanjit Singh stood tall to thwart a Mehtab Hussain flying long-shot which was right on target.
Salgaocar backline led by Luciano Sabrosa was up to the task as they held back East Bengal with some solid display.
In a 26th minute move, Robin Singh put it away from a Sanju Pradhan cross in what could have been an easy goal.
East Bengal began to look threatening but Salgaocar defence stood tall, curbing the attacking instincts by Ozbey and Singh upfront.
But the Goans ensured that pressure remains on East Bengal with some fine counter-attacks.
Salgaocar could easily have gone ahead in the 25th minute but Sueoka got it horribly wrong in front of an open net.
The Japanese striker capitalised on a centre by Gilbert Oliveira but only to head straight to East Bengal goalkeeper Sandip Nandy as both teams remained goalless in a tantalizing first 45 minutes.
The second half saw equal promise but East Bengal dished out a dominant performance as they took the lead 15 minutes after the break.
Penn Orji squandered an easy chance in the 58th minute but their winning moment came two minutes later with Ozbey finding the target in a fine finish.
Hussain set it up from the right flank as Singh passed it on to Ozbey who found the target easily with no Salgaocar defender in sight.
After the first-half promise, the Salgaocar defence looked to wear out, even as East Bengal intensified their attack but only to settle for one goal.