Kolkata: Odafe Okolie fired home a penalty as Mohun Bagan scraped past arch-rivals East Bengal 1-0 in an I-League match before a 90,000 strong crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.
The spotkick was awarded when Uga Okpara brought down Sunil Chhetri inside the box, and Odafe made no mistake from the spot. After six games, Mohun Bagan are now second with 15 points, while East Bengal stay on 10.
East Bengal dearly missed the services of the suspended Tolgay Ozbey upfront and their attacks lacked sting.
The match was restricted to the midfield in the initial minutes, before East Bengal upfronter Alan Gow essayed a short overhead ball to Robin Singh who laid it back for Alan, but the Scot was flashed the yellow card for diving.
In the 18th minute, Okpara fumbled as he let the ball bounce to a free Sunil Chhetri in the box. Okpara tried to save the situation with a sliding tackle which the referee judged improper and awarded a penalty to Bagan.
East Bengal started pounding the Mohun bagan goal with relentless moves, but Bagan custodian saved a Sanju Pradhan attempt and some time later dived full length to thwart Robin Singh's effort.
On the other side, Chhetri missed a golden chance to kill the match in the 78th minute when he failed to tap in a Odafe pass with East Bengal stopper Gurpreet Singh at his mercy.