East Bengal edged past 10-man Mohun Bagan 3-2 to make it two wins on the bounce in the season’s first I-League derby at the packed Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.
A brace from Landanmawia Ralte (17th minute, 61st) on either side of Jobby Justin’s strike in the 44th minute helped the ‘home team’ edge past Mohun Bagan who had drawn first blood via Azharuddin Mallick (13th) with Dipanda Dicka (75th) netting a late second.
Mohun Bagan’s Kingsley Eze was shown a red card in the 59th minute.
East Bengal, who had beaten Gokulam Kerala FC 3-1 in their previous tie here after a string of three defeats, moved to fifth spot in the points table with 12 points from seven games.
Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, remained eighth having nine points from seven outings and have now failed to win in their last three matches.
For the record, East Bengal’s last win in I-League derby came on April 21, 2016 when they had won 2-1 at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri.
East Bengal started on the front foot with Lalrindika Ralte blasting over from the edge of the box.
The hosts’ new recruit Spaniard Jaime Santos looked sharp from the outset.
But against the run of play, Mohun Bagan took the lead when Egyptian midfielder Omar Elhussieny turned sharply on the left wing and dribbled past East Bengal right-back Lalram Chullova to send a low cross for U-22 player Azharuddin Mallick who stabbed home from close.
Four minutes later, the red and golds returned the favour. Justin — who was guilty of dilly-dallying inside the area moments earlier — set up Landanmawia inside the box after the Alejandro Menedez-coached side displayed slick passing in the final third.
The visitors’ centre back Kingsley Eze — already on a booking — was fortunate to have not picked up a red when replays showed the Nigerian elbowing Jaime.
Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty surprisingly took off goalscorer Azharuddin in the 41st minute for Sk. Faiaz before
East Bengal took the lead for the first time.
Under-22 recruit Manoj Mohammad floated the ball inside the box for Laldanmawia to tee up Justin who unleashed a powerful side-volley to send the home supporters into ruptures.
Trailing 1-2 at the interval, the green and maroons were dealt a double blow in the space of two minutes.
First, Eze picked up a second yellow for hacking down Justin in the 59th minute with Landanmawia heading his second two minutes later from Lalrindika’s free kick.
Mohun Bagan appealed for a handball when East Bengal’s Spanish defender Borja Gomez intercepted Faiaz’s low ball inside the area but referee Venkatesh R waved play on.
Just when it looked like nothing was going their way, Mohun Bagan pulled a goal back riding Dicka’s thunderous volley from the edge of the box after East Bengal failed to clear the ball from a Arijit Bagui cross.
In the dying minutes, Justin missed from a one-on-one situation with Mohun Bagan keeper Sankar Roy coming out of his line to smother the ball.