Yemeni side Al Orouba rode on a dubious penalty decision to walk away with a lucky 1-0 win over East Bengal in their Group B AFC Cup opener at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Tuesday.
East Bengal enjoyed more possession to dominate the proceedings but lack of finishing did not help their cause as the visitors scored the decisive goal in the 45+2 minute when Fatai Alao converted from the spot.
Al Orouba were at their sloppiest best with little goal-bound moves as none of their players could pose any threat to the East Bengal defence led by Uga Okpara.
East Bengal had a three-pronged attack in Robin Singh, Edmilson and Tolgay Ozbey and looked penetrating a couple of occasions but were unlucky.
The Yemeni outfit went ahead just at the stroke of half-time when East Bengal were unfortunate to concede a penalty in a rather controversial fashion.
From an Al Orouba attack, East Bengal goalkeeper Gurwinder Singh came out of his line after a miscommunication with defender Gurpreet Singh and failed to clear the ball.
As a result, Gurpreet fouled Orouba striker Abdellah Sharyan after an aerial challenge inside the box in a rather dubious manner.
Bangladeshi referee Shamsuzzman Hasan Tayeb flashed the yellow card to the East Bengal defender and a penalty in favour of the visitors.
Al Orouba's Nigerian recruit Alao converted from the spot to help his side take a 1-0 lead at half time despite a sloppy display. East Bengal players and coach Trevor Morgan protested the referee's decision but in vain.