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 April 1, 2002 | 1700 IST

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Mohun Bagan score
over Mahindra United

Former champions Mohun Bagan stayed in the race for the National Football League title, beating Mahindra United 1-0 in a 19th round match at the Salt Lake stadium, in Kolkata, on Monday.

Brazilian ace Jose Ramirez Barreto scored the all-important goal for the Kolkata outfit in the 69th minute from a penalty kick.

The victory took Bagan to the top of the table. They have 38 points, from 19 matches, two more than Zee Churchill, who have 36 from 18 matches.

For Mahindra, it was their sixth defeat and virtually dashed any hopes they may have entertained of winning the title. After 19 matches they have just 27 points.

Bagan, despite being backed by a vociferous home crowd, were a pale shadow of themselves as they not only muffed a number of scoring chances but also left too many gaps in the defence and were distinctly lucky to earn full points.

Barreto, who has invariably come to the rescue of the team when the chips are down, converted the penalty much to the delight of his teammates in the 69th minute of the contest, but the attempt was hardly convincing.

The ball hit the left post and went into the goal as Mahindra United custodian Naseem Akhtar dived full length on the other side, hoping to prevent the goal.

National Football League - the complete coverage