Fed Cup: Lajong edges East Bengal in first leg

Englishman Trevor Morgan thus began his second stint as East Bengal coach with a loss. Morgan, who coached East Bengal from 2010-13, succeeded Biswajit Bhattacharya who had resigned following the club's poor form in the I-League.

The second leg between Shillong Lajong and East Bengal will take place on May 4.   -  Special Arrangement

Shillong Lajong FC recorded an upset by beating East Bengal 2-1 in the first leg of the its Federation Cup football tie at the JN Stadium here today.

Chinglensana Singh (33rd minute) and Fabio Pena (62nd) scored for Lajong while Do Donghyun found the target for East Bengal in the 44th minute.

Lajong, which had beaten East Bengal last Sunday in its final I-League match here, now has an advantage before its away game against the same opponent on May 4.

Englishman Trevor Morgan thus began his second stint as East Bengal coach with a loss. Morgan, who coached East Bengal from 2010-13, succeeded Biswajit Bhattacharya who had resigned following the club's poor form in the I-League.

The home side was reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute after Robin Gurung was given marching orders for elbowing East Bengal substitute Avinash Ruidas. The visiting team, however, failed to take advantage of its numerical superiority in the remaining period, including a seven-minute stoppage time.

Lajong was a relaxed lot coming into the tie and the approach seemed to help its cause early on with the East Bengal back line feeling the heat.

The first real opportunity came Lajong’s way in the eighth minute following a Bipin Singh corner kick which Fabio Pena headed just wide. Three minutes later, Issac Chakchuak sent his lofted shot over the bar from just outside the box.

East Bengal was guilty of not building up well as Lajong continued to enjoy advantage. Its hard work paid off three minutes after the half hour mark when Chiglensana headed one into the nets after a fine corner kick from Bipin Singh.

However, the joy of the local fans was shortlived as barely 11 minutes later Do Donghyun converted after being delivered with a fine ball by Ranti Martins. Following a long ball forward from Lalrindika Ralte, Ranti caught it just before it went out and flicked it over for a charging Do Donghyun to head past Vishal Kaith for the equaliser as both side went into the break tied 1-1.

Morgan made two changes at the hour mark bringing in Sanju Pradhan in place of Malsawmtluanga and Avinash Ruidas for Dong.

However, barely were the changes been made that Fabio Pena changed the fate of the game. It was after a series of passes from close range on the right between Issac and Bipin that the ball fell to Fabio who made no mistake in converting it. Fabio’s tamed shot rolled into the nets as Rehenesh was caught unawares in the melee.

Signs of desperation were clearly visible in the East Bengal ranks thereafter as the match drew closer to full time. But a crowded Lajong backline meant that the visitor was unable to make any significant inroads.

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