Shillong: North-East football giant Shillong Lajong on Saturday came from behind to beat Kingfisher East Bengal 2-1 in a thrilling encounter, witnessed by more than 20,000 strong fans at the J N Stadium here.
EB started confidently and opened the account earlier than they had probably planned.
The breakthrough happened in the fourth minute when Tolga Ozbey cut past Lajong`s defenders, worked his way ahead and scored past the goalkeeper for EB`s solitary goal of the match.
Conceding early, Lajong fought back with determination to gather form which led in two quick successive goals from skipper John Meyongar and Lajong`s finest new mid-fielder Eugeneson Lyngdoh.
They opened and closed the scorebooks in the 12th and 16 minutes respectively.
The rest of the match was a saga of missed chances.
In the second half, Australian Mayora had the best chance to increase Lajong`s lead in the opening minute only to find his ball off the goal post.
EB could have so easily snatched a draw but Lajong`s keeper Soram Poirei proved equal to the challenges inside the box.
In the 82nd and 83rd minutes of the match, Lajong`s energetic Tuboi was provided with a good opportunity at the box.
He however, ended placing the ball straight into the waiting hands of EB goalie Gurpreet Sandhu.
The defeat at the hands of resurgent Lajong could mean an end to EB hope of leading at the top of the table this season.
At the post match conference, Lajong`s coach P Reddy expressed his heart out for the performance of his boys especially at the midfield and the forwards.
According to Reddy, the Lajong-EB match is one of the finest match in Indian I-League.
He said, "Both sides played top class football with top class finishing".
Admitting that the first five minutes were shaky at the back, Reddy however, said, "The movements of Sushil Kumar and Mayora provided gaps for other players like Eugene to utilize the gaps at the opponent`s box".
Reddy said Lajong targets to achieve 40 points tally at the end of the season. Lajong gathered 27 points so far and they have six matches left at the end of 20th round of the prestigious I-League.
EB on the other hand is trailing by two points behind Mohun Bagan in the table.
"It is going to be difficult to dream for the title this year," EB coach T J Morgan said adding that, "but you never know what will happen in football".
EB has six games left in its kitty and if Dempo manage a win, EB will be trailing by eight points behind in the table.
First Published: Saturday, February 11, 2012, 18:50