Shillong: Riding high after a win over former champions Mohun Bagan, new entrants Rangdajied United were grounded with a 1-2 defeat to East Bengal in the 13th round encounter of the Airtel I-League football at the Polo Ground here Saturday.
Rangdajied head coach Santosh Kashyap didn`t make any changes to the side that started in the 2-0 away win over Mohun Bagan last Sunday.
The game started at a slow but calculated pace, with both sides approaching the first few minutes cautiously.
There were a few nerves initially, with the Rangdajied defender Lamine Tamba booked for a late challenge in the 15th minute. However, it was Rangdajied United, who made the more noticeable impact in the game in the first half.
In the 24th minute, forward Manandeep Singh got the ball outside the box. With strike partner Kim Yong standing unmarked, the Haryana-born Manadeep, however, fluffed his final ball, as East Bengal breathed a sigh of relief.
Five minutes later, Manadeep`s effort at goal from a Munmun Lugun cross agonisingly went inches wide.
With Rangdajied turning on the screw, East Bengal took the lead against the run of play after defender Gurwinder Singh headed in a free kick from the flanks.
The goal produced an instant reaction from the hosts, and hosts were able to create a few chances in the next few minutes.
With the game into the final minute of the first half injury time, Rangdajied`s pressure finally bore fruits, as striker Kim Yong headed in a brilliant cross from the right flank by skipper Eugeneson Lyngdoh. The teams went into the breather with the score at 1-1.
Both the sides started cautiously after the break. East Bengal, however, quickly settled down, and started piling the pressure on Rangdajied.
Rangdajied coach Kashyap sent in midfielder Bansharai Sunn for forward Manadeep Singh, to beef up his midfield and prevent East Bengal from dictating the play.
The substitution turned to be going well for Rangdajied, as the visitors weren`t being able to make inroads past the midfield. The hosts, on the other hand, set up to play on the counter.
Lyngdoh almost put his side ahead in the 70th minute, when he unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box. The long-ranger, however, went agonisingly over the bar.
At the other end, East Bengal were starting to create some decent chances.
In the 83rd minute, Subrata Paul made a fine save from a Edeh Chidi shot, only to see Shylo Malsawmtluanga tap in to score the winner for East Bengal.
I was very emotional on the podium and I broke down into tears because this was my first Asian Games after missing the two previous Asian Games, partly because of a doping allegation in 2006 when I was innocent.