Nandhakumar Sekar produced a spectacular finish to help Emami East Bengal end its losing streak against its arch-rival Mohun Bagan SG, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
The Chennai-born winger's contribution saw East Bengal down the Indian Super League (ISL) champion MBSG by a solitary goal in the group-A match of the Durand Cup, keeping its chances alive to qualify for the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The 60th minute goal also put Mohun Bagan SG smooth entry into the quarter-finals on hold as East Bengal can pip them to a last eight spot if they happen to win against Punjab FC in their last group league encounter on Wednesday.
Mohun Bagan, who completed their group A outings with six points from three matches while East Bengal have four points from two games.
Six group toppers and two best runners-up make up the last-eight.
MBSG coach, Juan Ferrando said "Our main target is still winning the Calcutta League and reaching the quarter finals of the Durand Cup".
Under Bengaluru FC's Indian Super League winning coach Carles Cuadrat, East Bengal looked much more compact and the forward lineup got back their usual flair with Nandhakumar's international class strike. The former Odisha FC midfielder capitalised on an assist from Saul Crespo from the right flank as he smartly outfoxed Mohun Bagan's India international Aniruddh Thapa with an outside dodge.
Showing perfect composure, the 27-year-old then used his instep to curl one past outstretched hands of Mohun Bagan SG goalie Vishal Kaith into the far corner of the net.
The win for East Bengal ended defending ISL champions Mohun Bagan's dominance that stretched for more than four years and six months.