Title favourites East Bengal's nightmare in the return leg of the I-League continued as they lost to Shillong Lajong FC 0-1 in a 15th round encounter in Shillong on Saturday.
The home side extracted a sweet revenge of their Federation cup reverse as Nigerian Daniel Bidemi romped home in the 89th minute converting a cross pass from James Gibilee with one minute to go before the final whistle.
Though the first and major part of the second half remained goalless, Lajong dominated the proceedings from the word go with their new forward combination of three Africans making repeated forays.
Man-of-the-match Bidemi missed a number of chances. In the 24th minute, he took a shot off a pass from Anil Gurung which went out.
In the 41st minute, the Nigerian dribbled past three East Bengal defenders and took a powerful shot which went straight into the hands of the Bengal goalkeeper Abhra Mondal.
Lajong's custodian R Lalthuammawia was rarely tested as the visitors put up a lackluster show in the forward line in absence of their talismatic striker Baichung Bhutia. Unmarked Gurung also missed a blinder from near the goalmouth in the 32nd minute.
Three Lajong players were shown yellow cards, two of them Samson Ramengmawia and goalkeeper Lalthuammawia for 'excessive appeal'.
As Gurung was looking out-of-touch, coach Stanley Rosario replaced him with striker Seikhohao Tuboi in 64th minute which added momentum to the Lajong forwardline.
The red and gold brigade missed a key chance to score in the 68th minute when Abbel Hammond failed to capitalise on a pass from Yusif Yakubu and hit the ball outside the posts.
This is the second successive defeat of the soccer giants in this I League who have only won five matches from the 15 they played in the league so far.
They had lost to Pune FC 2-1 in their last tie.
In the Federation cup final in Guwahati in January, East Bengal clinched the tie by overcoming Lajong FC with three goals in the penalty shootout after the stipulated 90 minutes as well as the extra-time failed to yield any result.