Mohun Bagan moved within a point of I-league leaders Aizawl FC with a game in hand following a tight 2-1 win over local rivals East Bengal at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri on Sunday.
Sony Norde put the hosts in front with a free kick from the edge of the box in the 36th minute before 19-year-old Azharuddin Mallick doubled the lead in the 44th with superb strike from outside the box. East Bengal, despite going down to 10 men in the second half, snatched a consolation goal in injury time through Rowllin Borges.
The win moved Mohun Bagan to 29 points, just one behind leaders Aizawl with a game in hand, while East Bengal remain third with 27 points.
The match turned ugly in the second half when Wilson Plaza was sent off for a foul on Anas in the 67th minute. Tempers were high both on and off the pitch for the remainder of the game, and at one point play had to be stopped when spectators pelted objects onto the field.
East Bengal were the more offensive side in the second half as Bagan preferred to sit back with their two-goal cushion. Their pressure finally paid off in the 93rd minute when Borges finished from close range to raise some hope, but the full time whistle came shortly afterwards.
Bengaluru snatch late winner vs Aizawl
Substitute Marjan Jugovic's 94th minute header helped Bengaluru snatch all three points with a 1-0 win over league leaders Aizawl FC at the Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Sunday.
The result also opened up a chance for East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, placed second and third respectively in the table, to close the gap on Aizawl with a win in the Kolkata derby.
Bengaluru's goal came from the last chance of the game, with Sunil Chhetri's free-kick from the edge of the box finding Jugovic, who scored his first for the club.
Chhetri started alongside Udanta Singh and Daniel Lalhlimpuia while Eugeneson Lyngdoh, who along with the captain sat out of the game against Mohun Bagan, was named in the starting XI. The hosts came close in the first half, with Chhetri's header from a corner hitting the post in the fifth minute and Daniel drawing a good save from Albino Gomes in the 22nd.
Aizawl's best chance came in the 44th minute when Ashutosh Mehta's strike came off the post.
Bengaluru next play fourth-placed Shillong Lajong on April 15, while Aizawl face Churchill Brothers.