Gangtok: Kolkata giants East Bengal rode on a Lalrindika Ralte strike late in the second-half to pip a spirited United Sikkim FC 1-0 notching up their maiden win in this edition of I-League.
The Bhaichung Bhutia-owned side put up a valiant fight to hold the Federation Cup winners to a goalless stalemate in the first-half that included few misses from the red-and-gold brigade.
But East Bengal made amends in the second-half as Ralte scored the winner through a free-kick in the 82nd minute for their first win of the season.
A fierce free kick from second half substitute Lalrindika Ralte in the 83rd minute ricocheted off a United Sikkim defender and flew past goalkeeper Yoon Tae for the only goal of the game.
Ralte's shot from the left side of the penalty box deflected off Budhiram Tudu's body to enter the net.
East Bengal, who were held by Sporting Clube de Goa in their first round fixture, now have three points from two matches, same as the local outfit who had won their first round match against Salgaocar.