Odafa Okolie made the difference between the two teams when he converted from the spot in the 21st minute.
The penalty was awarded when Uga Opara brought down Sunil Chhetri in the box. Courtsey the victory, Bagan stay at the second spot with 15 points from six matches while East Bengal stay on 10 points from six matches.
A crowd in excess of 90,000 turned up for the match with flags of their respective teams. Bagan started with Sunil Chetri and Odafa upfront while Daniel Zelenzy was handed his debut in the maroon and green jersey after just being registered on Friday.
On the other hand, East Bengal missing the services of Tolgay started with Alan Gow and Robin Singh upfront while Penn manned the midfield.
The first half started with both teams restricting themselves to the midfield in the first ten minutes. In the 10th minute, Alan Gow played a short overhead ball to Robin Singh in the box who laid it back for Alan but the Scott was flashed the yellow card for diving.
In the 18th minute, Ukpara made a mistake in the centre back position letting the ball bounce to a free Sunil Chetri in the box and he recovered fast to throw in a sliding challenge which the referee judged as an unfair challenge and awarded a penalty to Bagan. Odafa stepped up to take the penalty and neatly slotted in past Gurpreet the East Bengal goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu.
The second half started with constant pressure on the Bagan goal as they seemed to be content sitting back and defend their lead. Sangram first saved off a Sanju Pradhan shot in the 54th minute even as Alan Gow and Robin Singh kept pushing forward for the equaliser. Sangram was again at his best when he dived full length to keep away a Robin Singh effort from an acute angle.
On the other side, Chhetri missed a golden chance to kill the match in the 78th minute when he failed to tap in a Odafa pass with Gurpreet at his mercy.
Churchill Brothers scrape past Mumbai FC
Henri Autchouet scored a first half penalty as Churchill Brothers registered a solitary goal victory over Mumbai FC at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Sunday.
The Gabon striker won and scored the penalty in the 29th minute and that proved to be the essential difference between the two sides in a tight game.
Mumbai FC have now lost all five of their matches since that opening win against Air India, but the visitors had opportunities at the start to capitalise and put Churchill Brothers under pressure.
Nicholas Rodrigues was the first culprit for Mumbai FC as the midfielder failed to tap the ball inside an empty net after Churchill goalkeeper Felix D’Souza had managed to block Cavin Lobo’s effort.
That move proved costly as Churchill took the lead almost immediately. Henri, who had the rival defenders on their toes throughout, controlled a Lalrindika Ralte ball from the centre, cut past several defenders and in an attempt to block the striker, Keegan Pereira found himself handling the ball while being on the ground. The referee was close by and lost no time in awarding a penalty which Henri gleefully converted.
Churchill saw more of the ball in the first session but their strikers, particularly ND Opara, was guilty of missing sitters. The Nigerian striker, in fact, missed two easy chances much to the chagrin of his coach Manuel Gomes and the supporters.
Mumbai FC did not have much strength upfront and whenever there was a move launched, their strikers came a cropper. Cavin Lobo’s save in the second session was saved by Felix and once Ebi Sukore also went close. The fault largely was with the midfield which failed to combine effectively or create openings for the strikers.
For Churchill, two of their goals, both scored by Henri, were ruled to have been scored from an off-side position. Substitute Jerry Zirsanga also had a good chance for the home team to increase the lead in the closing stages of the match but his shot was blocked by the rival goalkeeper.
Air India beat HAL Bangalore 4-2
Displaying an attacking game of football, the airmen rally from a one-goal deficit to win 4-2. Air India was down by 2-1 in the lemon break. The second-half was altogether a different story, when they pumped 3 more goals.
The hosts were quick enough to open the account, thanks to a great combination from the flank from Bijoy Das and Vinoth Kumar, the later put up a cross for Malamnganba Meitei, and Malamnganba header made a right connection to the goal.
Air India equalised in the 8th minute through a Manadeep Singh free kick.
HAL again took the lead in the 20th minute from an attack from striker Abdullah Hamza-Aleksandar Sujdovic duo. With a one-on-one situation, Aleksandar beat the keeper and gave his team a 2-1 lead.
After changing half, both the team started playing attacking football. Airmen were quick enough to equalise, again from an excellent set-piece free kick from Indian international Manadeep Singh. Nigerian striker gave them the lead in the 75th minute from a corner.
It was Sandesh Gadkari, who came in as a replacement put the final nail in the host’s coffin in the dying minutes of the match.