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East Bengal qualify for AFC cup pre-quarters

sports Updated: Apr 24, 2013 00:35 IST
East Bengal

East Bengal squandered a two-goal lead but qualified for the pre-quarter finals of the AFC Cup getting out of the group stages for the first time in nine years.

On 11 points from five games, East Bengal will need a draw to ensure top spot in group H, a position that would give them the right to play the single-leg round-of-16 tie at home.

East Bengal are likely to play either New Radiant of the Maldives or Yangon United of Myanmar for a berth in the quarter-finals. They will end the group phase at home against Vietnam's Sai Gon Xuan Than on April 30.

East Bengal were set to ensure top spot at 80,000 capacity Shah Alam Stadium here having opened up a 2-0 lead by the 54th minute but substitute Manandeep Singh's 78th minute expulsion gave the home team a foothold.

Bounce back
Selangor bounced back with strikes from Abdul Shukur Bin Jushoh a minute later while Adib Aizuddin bin Abdul Latif found the equaliser in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time.

East Bengal had forged ahead through Penn Orji and Lalrindika Ralte got what seemed like the insurance goal. Wide midfielder Ralte had scored the matchwinner against Selangor at home on February 27 and also against Tampines Rovers of Singapore.

No Indian team qualified for the pre-quarter finals last year. In 2011, Dempo did losing 0-1 to Duhok of Iraq. Churchill Brothers made the last-16 in 2010 but lost 1-2 to Kuwait's Al-Qadsia. In 2009, Dempo had made it out of the group stage but went down 1-3 to Al Kuwait. In 2008, Dempo had made the semi-finals, the farthest an Indian team has gone, before losing to Lebanon's Safa.