A controversial second half penalty goal by Jose Ramirez Baretto enabled Federation Cup champions Mahindra United get the better of fighting Fransa Pax 2-1 and gain full points in the ONGC Cup 10th National Football league match, at the Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa, on Monday.
Baretto scored for Mahindra in the 18th and 82nd minutes, both through penalty kicks. Ivan D'Silva accounted for Fransa's goal, in the 10th minute.
With this victory Mahindra took their tally to 10 points and moved on par with table toppers Mohammedan Sporting, who have as many points from four outings.
Bottom-placed Fransa have two points from an equal number of matches.
In a fast-paced encounter, Fransa drew first blood as early as in the 10th minute through Brazilian Ivan D'Silva, whose left-footer found the net from close range, off a fine pass from Sidney Nkalanga. 1-0.
But the lead was short-lived as the Mumbai champions restored parity in the 18th minute through Barreto's penalty goal.
Mahindra were awarded penalty by referee P Vikramjit after Fransa defender Peter Rodrigues handled the ball inside the box.
Fransa had a chance to increase the lead in the 22nd minute but the visitors' goalkeeper, Subhashish Roy Choudhary, brought off a fine save off a header from Sidney.
In the 32nd minute of the first half, Yusif Yakubu, after collecting the ball, dodged past a couple of rival defenders and made a fine placement but Fransa goalkeeper Virendra Singh brought off a brilliant save, diving to his left.
Though the second half did not witness much action, Fransa had the upper hand for a major part.
In the 59th minute, Mahindra came by a good chance but Steven Dias's shot of Baretto's pass was well-saved by Virendra Singh.
Mahindra's match-winner came in the 82nd minute when the referee awarded another spot kick, which Baretto converted to seal the issue.