East Bengal ended the sequence of setbacks with a reassuring 3-1 win against Gokulam Kerala FC here at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Saturday.
Producing one of the best performances of the season so far, East Bengal found two goals in the opening half through Brandon Vanlalremdika and Jobby Justin. The visitor reduced the margin early in the second half with Christian Sabah finding the target before Lalram Chullova scored the third for the host to secure the three points.
The win, coming after three successive loses, took East Bengal to nine points from six matches. Gokulam remained on nine points after its seventh outing but had to concede the sixth spot in the standings to East Bengal, which nudged ahead owing to a better goal difference.
Getting one of the best starts in the season, the host went ahead in the fourth minute when Brandon put the finish to a fine move though the right. The attack began with Lalram Chullova sending a cross inside the box with Enrique Esqueda and Jobby Justin relaying the ball ahead to an onrushing Brandon from the left to finish it. East Bengal doubled the lead by the 14th minute when Jobby collected a long floater, made a nice solo run and slotted the ball home.
The visitor made a fine comeback after the break launching repeated offensives, which were missing in the opening session. The Ghanaian forward Sabah had the first chance in the 56th minute, when he got a free ball inside the box but failed to get the better of the East Bengal custodian Rakshit Dagar.
Gokulam stuck to the task and found the break in the next minute when compatriot Daniel Addo sent a searching floater deep inside the East Bengal territory to find Sabah, who beat Dagar with a deft touch and slotted the ball into an empty net.
East Bengal could well have been reduced to 10 men had the referee been stringent enough to acknowledge a head-butt by Lalrindika Ralte, who reacted angrily to the Gokulam midfielder Guilherme Castro bringing him down. Ralte escaped with a booking. Before the visitor could plot the equaliser, East Bengal took the match away with Chullova finding the net in the 82nd minute.
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