East Bengal reach semi-final of AFC Cup, create history

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Indonesia continued to be a happy hunting ground for Indian Football. It was here on 1st June,1960 India defeated Indonesia 2-0 to qualify to the Olympics. Again on 4th September, 1962 in front of a hostile crowd India won the Asiad Gold and we all know what happened on 26th July,2013 at Asean Club Cup final.

Today history was again repeated when East Bengal entered the semi final of the AFC Cup 2013 after winning 2-1 on aggregate against Semen Padang at Padang . East Bengal thus created an Indian record of reaching the semi-final remaining undefeated in 9 consecutive matches in the AFC Cup.

East Bengal had won the first leg at VYBK by 1-0. They only needed a draw to qualify for the semifinal. Not so super-sub Baljit Sahni  Baljit set up a fine cross for James Moga in the 78th minute for the the Sudanese striker to nod in the equaliser after Semen Padand had taken the lead in the 24th minute of the first half when Edward Junior Wilson seized a faulty clearance from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and scored.

Even after the scores were level Baljit had provided another defence splitting pass for Dika who failed to tap in from close. But he missed a mother of a sitter opportunity with the goal post wide open.

East Bengal won 2-1 aggregate and became the second Indian team to do so after Dempo SC. Incidentally three of the East Bengal players Chidi Edeh, Joaquim Abranches and Abhijit Mondal were in Dempo’s team when they achieved the feat in 2008. Ryuji Sueoka and Joaquim Abranches were booked in the match. Indonesian fans turned violent after the match and threw bottles and sticks on the ground.

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