THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Shillong Lajong prove too good for East Bengal

Federation Cup: East Bengal Club v Shillong Lajong FC

East Bengal Club crashed out of the Hero Federation Cup 2016 after they were held 2-2 (3-4 on aggregate) by a spirited Shillong Lajong FC in the return leg Round 2 match at the Barasat Stadium on Wednesday (May 4). Lajong had won the first leg at Home (in Shillong) 2-1 in Round 1.

The Reds from Shillong took an early lead when Fabio Pena converted from the spot in the 17th minute.

Six minutes later there was another conversion from the spot as East Bengal restored parity through Ranti Martins.

Spurred, East Bengal surged into the lead 13 minutes later as Lalrindika Ralte curled it in past rival Goalkeeper Vishal Kaith in the 36th minute.

With both Teams tied at 3-3 (on aggregate) after 90 minutes, the match went into extra time and it was Uilliams Souza who silenced the crowd to seal the fate when he scored the winner for Lajong in the 114thminute.

Earlier, trailing by a goal from the first leg Trevor Morgan made a solitary change on his return to Kolkata for the second time as East Bengal Coach — Sanju Pradhan’s pace being preferred ahead of Shylo Malsawmtluanga.

For Lajong, Robin Gurung remained suspended through a Red Card from the first leg and Thangboi Singto ushered in Samuel Shadap in defence.

In the 16th minute, Lajong’s Bipin Singh won a penalty for his side. His cross hit Deepak Mondal’s hand inside the box on the second attempt and Pena gleefully converted from the spot.

At that point, it seemed quite an uphill task for East Bengal as they needed three goals to stay alive. But the Red and Golds regrouped, showed positive intent and started to create some openings on the attacking front.

As East Bengal stepped up the momentum, Nimdorjee Tamang was guilty of handling the ball from Dong Hyun-Do’s shot in the danger area. Ranti stepped up and made no mistake to convert from the spot.

The equaliser was found but the home side still remained behind on aggregate. Eventually, Lalrindika Ralte restored parity (on aggregate) with a curling effort from ten yards out. Sanju Pradhan found Dong Hyun-Do and a one-two between the goalscorer and himself saw the Mizo man produce a delectable goal as East Bengal headed to the interval enjoying a 2-1 lead.

Changing over, Fabio Pena hit the woodwork in the 53rd minute much to the agony of the Lajong bench. What followed was an exciting phase of play where they tested the resolve of the backline of the Red and Golds, however, failing to achieve the goal.

Morgan introduced Mendy after the hour mark and he made an immediate impact as he used his height to his advantage posing a threat in the opposition box.

But none were able to break the deadlock as scores remained 3-3 after 90 minutes forcing the match into extra time.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the 114th minute. Uilliams Silva put the nail in the coffin for East Bengal’s hopes as he deftly chested down Penn Orji’s cross before smashing it in.

Lajong now await the winners between Mohun Bagan and Salgaocar FC in the semis.

(Report courtesy I-League Media / Photo courtesy Shillong Lajong FC)