East Bengal rode on a Marti Crespi’s goal in the dying minutes to secure a narrow 2-1 win over debutants TRAU FC in their I-League clash in Kalyani, West Bengal on Saturday.

Marcos Espada headed home beautifully from a Samad Ali Mallick cross to give East Bengal a 17th-minute lead but their defence was exposed at the stroke of half-time with Deepak Devrani making it one-all, scoring off a Phalguni Singh pass.

Just at the match was meandering towards a draw, it was Crespi who nudged the ball into the net off a deflected header from Marcos in the 89th minute, handing them a second consecutive win ahead of next Sunday’s high-profile derby against Mohun Bagan.

The win took East Bengal to the top of the I-League standings with eight points from four matches, while TRAU remained at the bottom after three losses in a row.

East Bengal were unlucky not to take an eighth-minute lead when Samad Ali Mallick’s long-range shot ricocheted off the crosspiece.

In the 14th minute too, East Bengal came close to scoring with Espada in the thick of the action while TRAU goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh was way out.

But a heroic goal-line clearance by Deepak prolonged the wait of the local favourites.