2nd Division I-League: Real Kashmir, Hindustan FC to fight for I-League spot

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Ozone FC and TRAU FC couldn't register a win in their respective games on Sunday to keep themselves in contention...
Ozone FC Bengaluru held Hindustan FC to a 2-2 draw in their final round fixture of the I-League second division at the FSV Arena in Bengaluru, on Sunday, while Real Kashmir FC's point in the 2-2 draw against Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC in the encounter that followed at the same venue meant the end of the Bengaluru-based team's campaign towards I-League qualification.
 

OZONE FC (Sabeeth Sathyan 3', Robert de Souza’s 82') 2-2 HINDUSTAN FC (Kushant Chauhan 5', Ashutosh Thapliyal 57')


Ozone FC came back from behind to salvage a draw against Hindustan FC but of which was not going to be enough to keep David Booth's side in the I-League qualification race.

Meanwhile, the Delhi-based outfit picked a point after they had piped TRAU FC by a solitary goal in their opening match of the final round.

Even though it took Ozone just three minutes to break down Hindustan's defence when Sabeeth Sathyan found the back of the net, the Bengaluru side went on to concede just two minutes later.

Sathyan's goal was courtesy of a impressive back-heel by Yongchan Son while Kushant Chauhan scored the equaliser through a long range effort after receiving a long lob from Pawan Kumar Joshi.

Sathyan was joined by Robert de Souza to force Hindustan goalkeeper Mithun Samonto into effecting some crucial saves while Nikhil Gehlot and Chauhan were seen combining well on the other side.

Crossing over, Ozone goalkeeper Amit Kumar was at hand to deny Chauhan in the 51st minute and Shailesh Maurya three minutes later before Hindustan substitute Ashutosh Thapliyal's right footed finish in the 57th minute.

Vikrant Sharma's side could then make it 3-0 but Shailesh Maurya's one-two with Gehlot resulted in the former's shot go inches over the target in the 76th minute.

In a late retaliation, Ozone's Brazilian striker Robert took advantage of a defensive lapse to make it 2-2 in the 82nd minute but neither side could find the elusive winner.

Ozone FCwill take on TRAU FC on Wednesday at 13:30 IST while Hindustan FC and Real Kashmir are set to lock horns in the title decider in the following fixture at 17:45 on the same day. Both the games are to be held at the FSV Arena in Bengaluru.

 

REAL KASHMIR (Ritwik Kumar Das 38', Nadong Bhutia 90+1') 2-2 TRAU FC (Princewill Emeka 63', Angousana Luwang 88')


If not for Nadong Bhutia's late equaliser, it would have potentially been a three-way battle between Hindustan FC, Real Kashmir and TRAU FC as the Manipuri outfit would have been level on points with the Kashmiri side, who had beaten Ozone FC in their final round opener.

TRAU enjoyed a lot more possession in the opening procedings of the match but were forced to take shots from afar as Real Kashmir kept  tight around the box. The team from north-east India didn't have any notable chances in the first half baring Princewill Emeka’s header that was dealt with by Real Kashmir goalkeeper Sukhiwnder Singh in the 14th minute.

Real Kashmir meanwhile waited to hit back on the counter and their plan nearly paid off in the 33rd minute when TRAU goalkeeper Tajuddin thwarted Nadong’s cross only as far as Yao Kouassi Bernard, but the latter shot wide.

Ritwik Kumar Das eventually put Real Kashmir ahead as he headed in a Danish Farooq cross in the 38th minute.

A goal down, TRAU felt the urge to get back in the game but missed a galore of chances besides being kept at bay by a brilliant Sukhwinder Singh in goal.

Two minutes into the second half, Reisangmei Vashum almost equalised but saw his first-time effort go wide before Emeka too shot wide and Malemnganba Meitei was denied by Real Kashmir goalkeeper.

TRAU continued with their stubborn attacks and finally found the back of the net through Emeka's 63rd minute piledriver that left Sukhwinder Singh with no chance.

Even though Sukhwinder continued with few more saves in the game, TRAU managed to sneak ahead when substitute Angousana Luwang scored from a free-kick in the 88th minute.

However, Bhutia saved the day for Real Kashmir after TRAU failed to contain him in the box as the youngster finished past rival goalkeeper Tajuddin.

Amid the sides whose qualification run ends on Sunday, TRAU FC finished their campaign despite being the top scoring side with 28 goals while Ozone FC had the two top scorers so far - Robert de Souza (10) and Sabeeth Sathyan (9).
 

I-League second division final round standings*:

Pos Team GP W D L GD Pts
1 Real Kashmir 2 1 1 0 1 4
2 Hindustan FC 2 1 1 0 1 4
3 Ozone FC 2 0 1 1 -1 1
4 TRAU FC 2 0 1 1 -1 1

*After Sunday's fixtures

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