Yemeni side Al Orouba rode on a dubious penalty decision to walk away with a lucky 1-0 win over East Bengal in their Group B AFC Cup opener at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Tuesday.
East Bengal enjoyed more possession to dominate the proceedings but a lack of finishing did not help their cause as the visitors scored the decisive goal at the stroke of half time when Fatai Alao converted from the spot.
Al Orouba were at their sloppiest best with little goal-bound moves as none of their players could pose any threat to the East Bengal defence led by Uga Okpara.
East Bengal had a three-pronged attack in Robin Singh, Edmilson and Tolgay Ozbey and looked penetrating on a couple of occasions but were unlucky.
The Yemeni outfit went ahead just at the brink of half-time when East Bengal were unfortunate to concede a penalty in a rather controversial fashion.
Following an Al Orouba attack, East Bengal goalkeeper Gurwinder Singh came out of his line after a miscommunication with defender Gurpreet Singh and failed to clear the ball.
As a result, Gurpreet fouled Orouba striker Abdellah Sharyan after an aerial challenge inside the box.
Bangladeshi referee Shamsuzzman Hasan Tayeb flashed the yellow card to the East Bengal defender and a penalty in favour of the visitors.
Al Orouba's Nigerian recruit Alao converted from the spot to help his side take a 1-0 lead at half time despite a sloppy display. East Bengal players and coach Trevor Morgan protested the referee's decision but in vain.
Five minutes after the changeover, Ozbey was tackled outside the box, winning a free kick for East Bengal.
Edmilson took the free kick that hit the post before Yemeni goalkeeper Muaadh Mohammad collected the ball that appeared to have crossed the goal-line, but the linesman decided otherwise.
East Bengal persisted with their attacks and in a 70th minute move they had a definite chance when K Paite set it up for Robin Singh on the right. But the Delhi striker failed to convert it.