Calcutta: East Bengal’s joy of reaching the AFC Cup semi-final almost turned sour as their players were attacked by hooligans shortly after Tuesday’s return-leg quarter final, at the Haji Agus Salim Stadium, in Padang.
The East Bengal dugout was the target of a group of frustrated Semen Padang fans, who pelted bottles and crackers that caught the visiting team by surprise for a moment or so. However, no one suffered any injury from the untoward incident. “It was something we really didn’t expect. In fact, for a moment or so, we were stunned with what was happening.
“We were all smiles after the favourable result, and all of a sudden, we saw bottles being pelted at us by some Padang fans. Some even went on to throw crackers.
“No one suffered any injury… The incident didn’t turn serious,” a member of the East Bengal team management said from Padang.
For their part, players don’t want to attach much importance to this incident. “We have better things to think about,” captain Mehtab Hussain said.
However, one aspect that could pose as a concern for East Bengal before the semi-final is Ryuji Sueoka’s knee injury, which is likely to rule him out of action for months.
The midfielder had to be substituted in the 43rd minute after a collision with the rival goalkeeper while going for a header off a free-kick.