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 March 11, 2002 | 1800 IST

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Bagan beat East Bengal,
move to the top

Twice champions Mohun Bagan regained the top spot in the National Football League, edging past arch-rivals East Bengal 1-0 in a fast and lively 15th round match in Kolkata on Monday.

After an unproductive first half, lethal Brazilian striker Jose Ramirez Barreto scored the lone goal in the 56th minute, to raise Bagan's points tally to 28 from 15 outings, pushing Vasco Sports Club, Goa, to the second spot on goal difference.

Leaders of the first leg, Bagan had slid to the seventh spot with a string of dismal performances in the early stages of the second phase, till they found their bearings in the last few matches.

A misspass by Jo Pol Ancheri, who played as left back in place of injured skipper Falguni Dutta, proved fatal for East Bengal, as Bagan medio R P Singh intercepted the ball, cut in from the right and sent a pass for Barreto. The Brazilian ran in fast, positioned himself well and shot home, giving no chance to the rival defenders.

The scoreline at the Salt Lake stadium was a repetition of the first leg match between the two sides, when Barreto had scored a out-of-the-world goal to ensure three points for Bagan.

Following today's reverse, East Bengal remain eighth with 20 points from 15 games, with their title hopes fading by the day.

National Football League - the complete coverage