Kolkata, Nov 15 (UNI) Syed Rahim Nabi's two quick goals in first half gave East Bengal a much needed 3-1 win over leaders Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1 in eighth round of the Indian League here this evening.
East Bengal's first salvo came from Sunil Chettri's header in the 13th minute and Nabi's brace came on the 27 and 31 mintues, cracking open Sporting defence absolutely. This was their second defeat but they still held the pole position with 18 points, ahead of Air India in the second spot.
Their consolation came in the second half from Harmanjot Khabra.
His header from Junior Elijah's pass beat Subrata Pal nine mintues after the resumption.
East Bengal before the match had nine points and were desperate to gain from the home tie. They began in whirlwind fashion to break loose the rival defence. Agile Sunil Chettri struck home, his third in this tournament, following a cross from Yusif Yukubu.
Before coming to reality, Felix D Souza conceded second goal when Nabi shot off Sur Kumar Singh pass. His solo effort paid dividend four minutes later as Felix failed to judge the ball. Nabi, who was adjudged man of the match for his brace, scored three goals in the tournament.
Full three points would carry East Bengal forward in the championship, coach Stanley Rozario told reporters. EB have no twelve points and championship was heading for grim battle ahead.
The visitors tried to fight back and earned as many as seven corners but the Suley Musha-led defence was hard to get crack after the reducer came nine minutes inside second half.
Junior Elijah, who had so far scored five goals in sporting's ten goals, was undone by deep defence of East Bengal. Harmanjot had made some solo attempt but help did not came to him properly as most of the players were running short of energy.
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