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East Bengal downs HASC

KOLKATA: East Bengal picked up another solitary goal win, downing Hindustan Aeronautics Sports Club in an 11th round encounter of the I-League here on Saturday.

Nigerian midfielder Orji Penn scored the only goal of the match to help East Bengal consolidate its position on top of the league standings. The host team, coached by Australia-based Trevor Morgan, dealt yet another disciplined performance to continue collecting crucial points in its bid to regain the title after a break of six years. Of the nine matches that East Bengal has won so far in the League, seven of them remained lone-goal victories.

East Bengal outplayed HASC in terms of ball possession and could well have enjoyed a bigger margin, but for the waywardness of its attackers.

Orji Penn doubled up in an attacking role and fetched the crucial break in the 32nd minute, volleying home a measured centre from Robin Singh. Penn's left-footer rebounded off the cross-piece and came out after hitting the ground, but referee Bikramjit Purakayastha declared it a goal, ruling that the ball had crossed the goal line. This drew a big protest from the HASC camp.

The visitor tried to make a comeback in the second session through its attacking midfielder Xavier Vijayakumar, who worked out some fine goal-bound moves after the break.

The win took East Bengal's tally to 29 points from 11 wins while HASC remained on 11 points after as many outings.

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