Former champions East Bengal made a shock exit from the Durand Cup football tournament after a 0-1 loss to I-League newcomers Lajong FC, Shillong, in a Group IV quarter-final league match at the Ambedkar stadium in Delhi on Wednesday.
Kyrshan Lynshing scored the all-important goal for Lajong in the 61st minute.
East Bengal continued their woeful form this season, losing to Chirag SC and Tata Football Academy in the IFA Shield earlier this month, adding to the troubles of coach Subhash Bhowmick, who is in line to get the boot after losing to less-fancied sides.
As Lajong had played out a goalless draw with Mahindra United in their opening match, East Bengal will not make it to the last four stage even if they beat the Mumbai side on Friday.
Mahindra though can still make it to the semi-finals if they beat East Bengal by a margin of two goals.
To the dismay of Bhowmick, his boys failed to click both in defence and upfront.
Argentine Sebestian Omar Monesterelo was unimpressive in deep defence as was his striker Jan Berger from the Czech Republic, who rarely troubled the Lajong defence.
The Shillong side, playing in their maiden Durand Cup, played their hearts out and threatened the East Bengal defence several times, especially in the second session.
They had better ball distribution and their foreign recruits, Daniel Badami and James Gbilee, were a constant threat to the East Bengal defence, especially after the breather.
Eight minutes into the match, Lajong had a chance with the East Bengal goalkeeper Abhra Mondal out of line after a challenge by James Gbilee but Kyrshan Lynshing failed to place the ball inside the empty net.
Mohun Bagan also had a chance in the 25th minute but Jan Berger's shot from inside the box was saved by Lajong goalkeeper Gumpe Rime.
Just after the hour mark, midfielder Daniel Badami cut into the East Bengal box and after a one-on-one with left winger Niwan Gatphoh he sent a low cross past the goalkeeper for Lynshing, who just tapped the ball into the empty net, much to the joy of their fans.
Three minutes later, East Bengal could have equalised but Jan Berger failed to connect a Subhash Singh low cross from the right with only the Lajong goalkeeper in front.
Lajong could have doubled their lead in the 70th minute but Boithang Haokip's right footer from outside the box hit the crosspiece after beating the East Bengal goalkeeper.
Earlier in the day, Mohun Bagan unleashed an attacking brand of football to overwhelm Oil and Natural Gas Corporation 5-1 in their opening Group II quarter-final league match.
Surkumar Singh (ninth and 90+2) and Nigerian Chidi Edeh (16th and 77th) struck twice while Jose Barretto (43rd) scored once for the Kolkata giants, while Chukwuma Udofia pulled one back for ONGC in the 82nd minute.
Mohun Bagan, who finished runners-up in the IFA Shield last week in Kolkata, now need just a draw against JCT in their last quarter-final league match on Friday to make it to the semi-finals as Group II toppers.
ONGC, on the other hand, are out of the tournament as they had lost their opening match against JCT 0-1.