Mohammedan Sporting continued to hover precariously in the relegation zone after losing 0-1 to Kolkata rivals Mohun Bagan in an ONGC tenth National Football League encounter in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Brazilian defender Eduardo Coelho headed in the winner for Bagan in the 77th minute.
Sporting remained on 14 points from 16 outings. Wooden spooners Goa's Salgaocar, against whom Sporting play their wrap-up tie in Goa, are on 11 points, but have played one match less.
Bagan brightened their chances of a third place finish, boosting their points tally to 27 from 16 outings. After playing the same number of matches, Bagan's closest rivals Dempo are on 24 points.
Bagan now travel to Ludhiana to take on JCT in their concluding engagement.
The Salt Lake stadium tie between the two city teams saw Bagan dominate for most part of the 90 minutes, as Sporting adopted a defensive approach by employing nine men in the rear.
However, after the induction of veteran Raman Vijayan, Sporting's attacks picked up steam, though they failed to convert the chances that came their way.
After a goalless first half, Bagan broke the deadlock 13 minutes from close from a set-piece. Medio Dharamjit Singh's measured free kick from the left found an overlapping Eduardo, who nodded home, giving no chance to Sporting custodian Gopal Das.
Stung by the reverse, Sporting upped the ante and carried out a string of desperate raids. But, in the end, the scoreline remained the same.