East Bengal 1-0 Selangor FA: Red Giants fall in Kolkata

The Red Giants drop points after conceding a solitary goal scored by Lalrindika Ralte in a disappointing start to their AFC Cup campaign
Selangor FA lost to India's East Bengal by a solitary goal in their AFC Cup, Group H opener played at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, on Wednesday.

Irfan Bakti's men had to start without Ramez Dayoub after he had been a given life-ban by the Lebanon FA yesterday due to match fixing allegations.

East Bengal however, took the opportunity to field four foreigners and started with the duo of Chidi Edeh and Andrew Barisic upfront. Penn Orji took was slot behind the two strikers.

The Red Giants defended in a 4-5-1 formation which changed to a fluid 4-2-3-1 while attacking. Forky Doe was the lone striker for the Malaysian side.

The hosts looked well-organised from the start. They created more chances than their Malaysian counterparts. The first chance of the game came for East Bengal in the 4th minute but Barisic was unable to find the net after receiving a through ball from Orji.

It was only a minute later when a Chidi header from a corner hit the bar. The next good chance came in the 12th minute when Barisic again went very close to scoring the first goal, but Selangor was tight at the back to clear any danger.

Irfan Bakti’s men stuck to their passing football and concentrated on retaining possession. Doe was instrumental in threatening the East Bengal defence.

The Liberian took a shot at Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in the 17th minute but it was tame. Seven minutes later, Forkey’s left-footed grounder went just wide of the far post.

The East Bengal midfield then started to control the proceedings through Lalrindika Ralte who was a real menace for the Red Giants’ defence to handle, intercepting and passing the ball at will.

On the 28-minute mark, Orji came close to breaking the deadlock when Chidi found him at the edge of the six-yard box unmarked. The Nigerian midfielder sent his powerful shot straight into the hands of Norazlan Razali.

Selangor also had their share of chances and the best effort came from none other than Doe who had his shot thwarted by the East Bengal custodian.

Lalrindika then opened the scoring a minute from the break, when his left-footed shot went into the top-corner of the net. At half time, Selangor were down 1-0.

In the second half Irfan Bakti’s men were clearly affected by the absence of their key players. Doe was constantly forced to create chances for himself without much help from the midfield.

East Bengal took advantage of that and kept going for the second goal. Barisic missed a sitter in the 80th minute and soon after, Norazlan made a superb save to keep out Sanju’s long range effort.

The host looked destined to score more goals in the second period but Mahili Jasuli was on hand to break down East Bengal’s attempts. If it wasn’t for him, and a little luck, the Red Giants could have conceded at least two more.

At the final whistle, Selangor lost their first 2013 AFC Cup game 1-0 to East Bengal. In their next Group H match, the Red Giants welcome Singapore’s Tampines Rovers to the Shah Alam stadium on March 13.