Kolkata, Nov 24 (IANS) India international Lalrindika Ralte's brilliant strike gave East Bengal a 1-0 win over arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in a round 10 clash of the I-League at the Salt Lake Stadium here Sunday.
The season's first big Kolkata derby produced few goal-scoring chances but Lalrindika's moment of magic in the 73rd minute gave Armando Colaco a winning start as East Bengal coach.
The first real chance of the game fell to Mohun Bagan as skipper Odafa Okolie, who was playing in a deeper role, sent Eric Muranda clean through on goal with a lovely through pass. But the Kenyan's effort was well saved by Abhijit Mondal and Katsumi Yusa's shot from the rebound was blocked by defender Arnab Mondal.
East Bengal were seeing more of the ball but struggling to break down a well ogranised Mohun Bagan backline with a header from Edeh Chidi being their only meaningful attempt and that too went off target.
The Red and Gold Brigade's best opportunity of the half came just a few minutes before the interval when Lalrindika's lobbed through-ball sent Ryuji Sueoka behind the Mohun Bagan defence but Shilton Paul came out well to save at the Japanese player's feet.
Things didn't change much in the second half as East Bengal had plenty of possession but didn't really trouble the opposition defence.
At the other end, Odafa had a golden opportunity to put his side in front but Mohun Bagan captain's header from a Pritam Kotal cross went straight to Abhijit Mondal.
More than 80,000 fans witnessed the 306th edition of this historic fixture.