In Matchday 12 of the 2nd Division League, ARA FC and Lonestar Kashmir FC falter in Group A; Lonestar have two games in hand and are two points behind ARA FC leaving them in prime position to qualify if they are able to negotiate their hectic home schedule.
Lonestar stay in the hunt for qualification
Group A, Delhi, 24 March 2019: Hindustan FC 0-1 Lonestar Kashmir FC
Lonestar Kashmir picked up their second win of the season after sending Hindustan FC to their seventh defeat of the season.
The solitary goal came early in the second half and was enough for the away side to pick up all three points. The goal scorer for Lonestar was the JCT academy product Atinder Mani who scored in the 50th minute.
With the win, Lonestar are two points behind ARA FC who are in the qualification spot, but the Kashmiri side have games in hand.
ARA FC qualification spot in jeopardy
Group A, Bambolim, 24 March 2019: FC Goa (R) 1-0 ARA FC
After losing to Bengaluru FC [R], ARA FC have lost a second consecutive game on their travels – this time to FC Goa [R].
Having won the reverse fixture earlier in the season, the visitors started the game well and their build up play was cautious and measured. They got close to a goal in the first half with a couple of attempts coming off the post.
However, early in the second half, it was the reserves who took the lead courtesy Hayden Fernandes (53′). The Gaurs would go on to hold the lead and pick up a win.
The league debutantes ARA FC have one remaining fixture away against Lonestar Kashmir in a match which could potentially decide who qualifies into the final round from Group A.
Chennaiyin FC Reserves pick up their first win in their last league game
Group B, Chennai, 26 March 2019: Chennaiyin FC (R) 2-1 Fateh Hyderabad AFC
The Chennaiyin reserves finally managed to win their first game of the season and finish their campaign at the bottom of the table.
It was the home team which took the lead in the 38th minute after the 19 year old Mizo forward Bawlte Rohmingthanga capitalised on a defensive error in the box to score.
Rohmingthanga would turn creator after turning a loose ball in midfield into Krishna Pandit who doubled their lead in first half stoppage time.
Fateh pushed forward in the second half and looked to get back in the game while the reserves threatened on the counter. They would score with the Ghanian forward Forster Addae pulling a goal back – but the goal came in second half stoppage time and served only as a consolation.
Bangalore derby ends in a draw
Group B, Bengaluru, 26 March 2019: South United FC 2-2 Ozone FC
South United FC played out an exciting draw against Ozone FC who have already qualified for the final round.
Having fallen well short of the qualifying spot, South United looked determined to end their campaign on a high. They defended deep and played on the counter while Ozone FC tried to find a way through. South United took the lead in the 32nd minute after Rungsing Muinao turned in the ball into the net from a corner delivery.
Ozone FC went into the half-time break trailing by a goal and were on the lookout for one after the resumption. The 17-year-old forward Harpreet Rulbir slotted past the keeper in the 55th minute to level the scores.
South United sprung back into action and took the lead again in the 68th minute. The captain Aaron D’Costa with a run down the flanks setup the 18-year-old Sudipta Malakar who finished from close range.
For a while, SUFC looked like they were going to see through the game, but the defender Krishanu Malo headed the ball into his own net to hand Ozone the equaliser.
With the draw, Ozone have finished their campaign top of Group B and are undefeated in the preliminary round.
Bengaluru FC B continue their unbeaten run
Group A, Katra 27 March 2019: Lonestar Kashmir FC 1-3 Bengaluru FC [R]
Bengaluru FC continued their impressive form in the league and picked up their sixth win of the campaign.
An expansive first-half performance by the Blue Colts who attacked with speed and verve saw them score three goals in the first half. Advait Shinde was the first to get on the score sheet in the seventh minute after collecting a pass from captain Myron Mendes and finishing it past the keeper. Edmund Lalrindika would get the second in the 20th minute after a long ball from Amal Das found the Mizo forward with time to double the lead for the away side. A third goal would come from a penalty – Myron Mendes stepped up to make it 3-0 in the 40th minute.
Lonestar would pull a goal back in the second half courtesy Basit Bhat in the 65th minute, but that was about the extent of the comeback against a dominant Bengaluru side.
Having held BFC B to a draw a week ago, Lonestar will be disappointed with the result, but they have a couple of games in hand over ARA FC and are still very much in contention for the final round.
GROUP A TABLE
|1||Bengaluru FC (R)||7||6||1||0||24||3||21||19|
|2||FC Goa (R)||6||4||0||2||15||5||10||12|
Group B: Ozone FC qualify for the final round.
Group C: Chhinga Venga FC and TRAU FC are through to the final round.