The East Bengal bench was the target of football hooligans at the Haji Agus Salim Stadium in Padang, Indonesia after the Indian soccer giants beat local side Semen Padang in a tightly fought AFC Cup quarterfinal on Tuesday. Bottles and crackers were thrown at the players after East Bengal defeated the local favourites to enter the tournament's semifinal stage. However, the joy of qualifying for the last-four stage of Asia's premier club tournament was just too overwhelming. (Read: East Bengal enter semis)
Indonesia continued to be a happy hunting ground for Indian football. It was in Jakarta on June 1, 1960 that India defeated Indonesia 2-0 to qualify for the Rome Olympics. Again on September 4, 1962 in front of a hostile crowd, India won the Asian Games gold. And on July 26, 2003, East Bengal defeated Thailand's BEC Terro Sasana 3-1 to win the ASEAN Cup under coach Subhas Bhowmick. On Tuesday, East Bengal scripted history again. (AIFF congratulate East Bengal)
James Moga turned super-sub in the 79th minute as Indian giants East Bengal beat Indonesia's Semen Padang 2-1 on aggregate at the GOR Haji Agus Salim Stadium to enter the semifinals of the AFC Cup on Tuesday. Leading 1-0 from the first leg clash at home, East Bengal came back from a goal down for a 1-1 draw and maintain their unbeaten record in the tournament. (Coaches laud East Bengal)
East Bengal thus created an Indian record of reaching the semifinal of an Asian Football Confederation club tournament by remaining unbeaten in nine consecutive matches.
On Tuesday, a masterstroke by coach Marcos Falopa helped East Bengal win a tight match. Falopa brought in Baljit Sahni in the second half in place of Robert Lalthalmuana. It was Baljit's fine cross that set up Sudanese striker Moga to head in the 78th minute equalizer after Semen Padang scored first through Edward Wilson in the 24th minute. Falopa dedicated the win to East Bengal fans, players and officials.
Interestingly, three current East Bengal players -- Chidi Edeh, Joaquim Abranches and Abhijit Mondal -- were in Dempo squad when the Goan champions entered the semifinal of the AFC Cup.
East Bengal XI: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, T.Naoba Singh, Arnab Mondal, Uga Okpara, Robert Lalthalmuana (Baljit Sahni), Mehtab Hossein, Ryuji Sueoka (James Moga-43'), Saumik Dey, Joaquim Abranches (Gurwinder Singh-80'), Lalrindika Ralte, Chidi Edeh.