Robin Singh's second-half brace led East Bengal to an emphatic 3-1 win over Bengaluru FC at the Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday. East Bengal returned to the top of the table, having been temporarily displaced by Aizawl FC, who beat Chennai 1-0 earlier in the day. Defending champions Bengaluru FC remain fifth with 13 points, now trailing the league leaders by 11 points, albeit with a game in hand.
With Amrinder Singh sitting the fixture out with a sore groin, Arindam Bhattacharya was handed his first start in goal with CK Vineeth also starting in attack alongside Udanta Singh.
Wedson Anselme gave East Bengal the lead in the 23rd minute with a curling left-footed shot from the edge of the box.
Bengaluru's best chance came early in the second half when substitute Daniel Lalhlimpuia shot over from close range from Chhetri's headed pass. Robin Singh headed East Bengal's second just a minute later when Robert Lalthlamuana sent in a cross from the left.
Singh was the fastest to react when he slid in to bundle in a low cross to make it 3-0 in the 59th minute.
Although it was BFC's first defeat at home this season, they have now gone seven games without a win in the league.
East Bengal next travel to fourth-placed Shillong Lajong FC, while BFC visit seventh-placed Minerva FC.
Aizawl edge past Chennai despite Karanjit heroics
Brandon Vanlalremdika's 53rd minute strike helped Aizawl FC to a 1-0 win over Chennai City FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl in round 11 of the I-League on Saturday. The result temporarily took Aizawl to the top of the league table ahead of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan, with both clubs yet to play their respective matches of the round.
The hosts dominated possession in the first half, but failed to secure the lead in spite of a flurry of attacking moves.
Away keeper Karanjit Singh was called into action several times, most notably when Jayesh Rane's corner kick was headed towards goal by Zohmingliana, which the keeper punched over. Karanjit had also blocked Al Amna's free kick just minutes into the match.
The first shot by Khalid Jamil's team came in the 12th minute when Alfred Jaryan's shot from outside the box was saved by Karanjit.
Charles de Souza, who had scored in Chennai's win in the reverse fixture, had a chance to put the visitors ahead from a counter-attacking move. However, Aizawl FC defender Kingsley Eze blocked the Brazilian forward.
R. Laldanmawia was denied by the woodwork early in the second half. But Brandon soon put the hosts in front, converting Kamo's assist for his third goal of the campaign.
Alfred Jaryan nearly doubled the lead with a long and powerful shot, but Karanjit Singh averted the danger. Chennai City FC tried to find the equaliser in the final stages, but the Aizawl defence remained impenetrable.
Aizawl now have 23 points from eleven matches while Chennai are ninth with eight points from 11 matches.
Aizawl next host Mumbai FC on March 4, while Chennai host DSK Shivajians on March 5.