Chennai City strengthened their lead at the top of the 2018-19 I-League table with a 2-1 win against East Bengal on Monday at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore.
Laldanmawia Ralte gave the Red and Golds the lead but second-half goals from Pedro Manzi and Alexander Jesuraj sealed a win for Chennai.
Akbar Nawas and Alejandro Menendez made one alteration to their starting lineups. Samad Ali Mallick replaced the suspended Lalramchullova at right-back and Pravitto Raju came into Chennai's midfield for Shem Marton.
Chennai City's attempts to dominate the game in midfield were initially thwarted by a high-pressing East Bengal unit. The forward line of Jobby Justin, Toni Dovale, Jamie Colado and Landanmawia Ralte combined to deny Pravitto, Sriram and even ball-playing defender Roberto time on the ball.
The pressure applied by the visitors yielded them the opening goal in the ninth minute. Lalrindika Ralte delivered a corner to the far post where an unmarked Borja Gomez flicked the ball across the goal. Laldanmawia Ralte nodded the ball into make it 1-0.
Both sides came close in the next few minutes. Toni Dovale released Jobby Justin into plenty of space behind the Chennai defence but the Keralite dragged his shot inches wide of goal. Roberto found Nestor's run into the box with a delightful outside-of-the-boot pass but a loose touch by the winger allowed the goalkeeper to collect the ball.
Chennai looked a different unit after the break as they managed to bypass their opposition's press and get into the game. Edwin Vanspaul's speculative effort on goal from the edge of the box was cheekily deflected past Rakshit Dagar by Pedro Manzi in the 48th minute to score his 11th goal of the season.
East Bengal lost control of the game and the hosts tightened their grip on the game. The leagu leaders completed their comeback in the 70th minute. Sandro dropped deep to collect the ball and played a terrific cross-field diagonal for Pravitto Raju on the right flank. The young midfielder surged forward and found Alexandro Jesuraj who slotted home from inside the box to seal a deserved win for Chennai City.
Chennai City, with 27 points from 12 matches, extended their lead over Churchill Brothers at the top of the table to five points.