James Moga turned super-sub in the 79th minute as Indian giants East Bengal beat Indonesia's Semen Padang 2-1 on aggregate at the GOR Haji Agus Salim stadium to enter the semifinals of the AFC CUP on Tuesday. Leading 1-0 from the first leg clash at home, East Bengal came back from a goal down for a 1-1 draw and maintain their unbeaten record in the tournament. (Image courtesy: World Sports Group)
The Indonesian side dominated much of the first half and were gifted a goal in the 23rd minute. East Bengal keep Gurpreet Singh Sandhu miscued his goal kick and the ball landed straight at the feet of Edward Wilson. The Padang striker made no mistake to help the home team level the tie on aggregate. After a few minutes of back-and-forth action, East Bengal suffered another blow when star player Ryuji Sueoka went down with an injury. The Japanese forward was stretchered off to be replaced by James Moga. Padang's Vendry Mofu had a glorious chance to put his side in front at the end of the first half but couldn't direct his point-blank header past Gurpreet.
The heat at the GOR Haji Agus Salim stadium took a toll on both sides in the second half. But it was East Bengal who found that extra burst of energy to put the tie beyond the hosts. Baljit Sahni crossed from the right wing and substitute Moga directed a bullet header past Padang goalkeeper Jandia Putra (1-1). With East Bengal leading 2-1 on aggregate, Semen Padang needed to score two goals in the last 10 minutes. Despite the home teams' best efforts, East Bengal held on to record a memorable win. They will next face Kuwait Sports Club in the semis.