East Bengal on Wednesday paid a heavy price for its defensive lapses, going down to Gokulam Kerala 1-3 ahead of Sunday’s Kolkata Derby.

Playing without its centre back Borja Gomez, East Bengal conceded its first goal in the 21st minute when an unmarked Henry Kisekka cut in from the edge of the box to slot it past goalkeeper Lalthuamawia Ralte.

The Reds and Golds conceded a second through an own goal by Marti Crespi before halftime while trying to clear a Marcus Joseph shot.

Match highlights | East Bengal vs Gokulam Kerala

East Bengal's defensive woes continued as Kerala’s star forward Marcus Joseph sealed the game after being set up by Kisekka in the 65th minute with defender Asheer Akhtar and Ralte caught napping.

East Bengal’s solitary goal came in the 27th minute when Kassim Aidara slotted it home from a rebound off the post.

It was East Bengal’s second straight defeat, ahead of Sunday’s much-anticipated derby clash against arch-rival Mohun Bagan. East Bengal lost to Churchill Brothers away in its last outing and now has eight points from six matches to be placed behind Gokulam Kerala, which climbed to the fourth spot.