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 November 27, 2002 | 1730 IST

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East Bengal maintain
winning streak

Strong contenders East Bengal continued on their winning streak, beating former champions JCT Mills, Phagwara, 1-0 in an absorbing National Football League match at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The all-important goal was scored by African striker Mike Okoro in the 15th minute of the second-half.

East Bengal, who had won the National League in 2000-01, thus posted their third successive victory and moved to the top of the league table, with nine points from three matches.

JCT, who had won the title in the inaugural year in 1996-97, are yet to earn a point after two outings. They lost their first match to Salgaocar.

The millmen today turned in a better showing than they did against Salgaocar. Though East Bengal had more possession of the ball, especially after the goal, it was the visitors who looked more threatening. Had striker I M Vijayan and medio Jo Paul Ancheri been a wee bit sharper, the Phagwara side could have at least snatched a point from the outing. Both the India players were sluggish and slow on the ball.

JCT were also unlucky to be denied a goal in the first-half by the crossbar which came in the way of a piledriver from Harbinder Singh after East Bengal goalkeeper Sandeep Nundy was beaten.

Okoro's goal was the result of some quick thinking by his striking partner Alvito D'Cunha. The fleet-footed Goa player split the JCT defence with a fine through ball from midfield. Okoro latched on to the pass, covered some ground and cooly lobbed the ball over the head of JCT defender Musa Aliu as goalkeeper Arvind Kumar was caught on the wrong foot.

Complete Coverage: 7th National Football League 2002-03