Kolkata: Three times National Football League Champions East Bengal proved today that they have what it takes to retain their title. A hard fought 2-1 win over Goa's Dempo means the Kolkata side, Dempo and Sporting Club Goa will go into the final round of matches knowing they all have a chance to win the title. Early lead East Bengal were without the services of star striker Baichung Bhutia who will be out of action for a month due to illness. But the Kolkata giants still had the services of Jeremiah to fall back on, and the Nigerian gave East Bengal the lead in the 19th minute. East Bengal needed all three points from the match to keep them in the title race and on the half hour mark the Dempo defence was lost at sea as Syed Rahim Nabi put them up 2-0 with the simplest of tap-ins. Five minutes before the break, Dempo had a great chance to pull one back. The header though was too weak to trouble the East Bengal goal-keeper. Action-packed game The second half saw end to end action but neither side was able to break the other down. Eighty three minutes into the game Dempo were awarded a somewhat controversial penalty after Ranty Martins was bought down inside the area. Clifford Miranda stepped up and coolly slot the ball home, sending the East Bengal keeper the wrong way. Dempo knowing that a draw was good enough to take them on top of the standing on the same points as Sporting Clube De Goa then went into fifth gear, only for the legs of the East Bengal keeper to deny them. The home side held on to win 2-1 and kept their chances of winning their fourth NFL title alive.