It all goes down to the age-old debate. Can money buy success?
McDowell Mohun Bagan, which spent more than 13 crores to out together this year's squad, bowed out of the Federation Cup, at the Balewadi Sports Complex, in Pune, on Monday.
Shillong Lajong Football Club, which runs with less than one-fifth of Bagan's budget, beat the Kolkata giants 3-1.
Lajong surged into the lead in the 45th minute through Lalhimthara only for Odafe Okolie to restore parity in the 58th.
Johnny Meyongar put Lajong 2-1 ahead in the 74th minute and then James Gbilee completed the rout in the 81st.
Lajong stay on three points from two matches while Bagan are yet to open their account
Bagan, despite all the hype and glamour, never looked threatening. Okolie lacked the speed and thrust that made him the highest paid footballer in the country; Sunil Chhetri was restricted to the bench and Anwar Ali and Rakesh Masih, the two wing-backs in the three-man defence couldn't fall back in time to cut off the crosses from the flanks.
The pace and stamina of the Lajong players exposed the Bagan midfield. Lajong used the flanks to great effect.
In sharp contrast, Bagan's right flank stayed non-existent while the Rahim Nabi, on the left, couldn't penetrate.
Dempo beat Mohammedans, keep semis chances alive
In another match, Dempo Sports Club routed Kolkata's Mohammedan Sporting 3-1 to keep alive their chances of a semi-final berth at the Salt Lake Stadium.
Ranti Martins opened the scoring for Dempo in the third minute and Clifford Miranda doubled the score in the 25th.
Koko Sakibu scored the third for Dempo in the 35th minute.
Sporting's solitary goal came from Cyprian Stanley, in the 66th minute.
Dempo came out all guns blazing. Their strikers Martins and Sakibu combined well between themselves. They kept the Sporting defence under pressure under which the Kolkata side cracked.
Dempo's first goal, by Martins, came from an angular shot.
Their persistent efforts enabled them double the lead in the 25th minute when Moranda slotted home a Samir Naik pass.
Sakibu completed the rout in the 35th minute.
Dempo stay on three points from two matches while Sporting are on one point from as many.