Rajasthan United FC downed Madan Maharaj FC with the help of two late goals from Surag Chettri and Harpreet Singh to secure a 2-0 victory in the I-League Qualifiers final round match here at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Wednesday, October 20.
The win gives Rajasthan United FC six points from their first two matches in the final round, placing the side in pole position to secure the coveted I-League spot with Kenkre FC close behind on four points. With no points on the board in the finals so far, Madan Maharaj FC have been eliminated from I-League contention.
The first chance of the afternoon fell Madan Maharaj FC’s way as striker Biren Rai closed down goalkeeper Vishal Joon but his shot went off target. After a quiet opening spell in the game, the match suddenly sprung into life after the 15th minute mark as both sides were on the receiving end of a flurry of chances.
Madan Maharaj FC created another chance from a corner which was played short and worked well between the trio of Mehtab Hossain, Siam Hanghal and Bishnu Bordoloi. Bordoloi played a cross into the far post which found the unmarked Loveday Okechukwu but to no avail.
In the 17th minute, Harmanjot Singh’s shot from over 35 yards missed the top corner by a whisker. Rajasthan United FC came close again in the 19th minute as winger Aman Thapa’s cross from the right was missed by Akeem Abioye.
After the change of ends at half time, Rajasthan United FC immediately put the ball in the back of the net through winger Dilli Ram Sanyasi. After some neat interplay between Aman Thapa and Akeem Abioye, Akeem squared the ball inside the box and found Dilli Ram, but the latter’s goal was disallowed as he was judged offside.
Vishal Joon was called into action once again in the 77th minute when veteran Madan Maharaj FC right back Abhishek Das set off on a mazy run, chopping infield and then out before unleashing a fierce drive to produce an acrobatic save from the Rajasthan United FC shot stopper.
In the 81st minute, Monotosh tackled the ball away from Harpreet, Surag Chettri latched onto the loose ball and drilled a grounded shot towards the Madan Maharaj FC goal. His shot lacked power and was comfortably held by Abhishek Calvin.
Rajasthan United FC finally brought an end to the stubborn Madan Maharaj resistance in the 88th minute through a well-worked team goal. Akeem Abioye chipped in a precise lob into the box for striker Harpreet Singh, who selflessly chested the ball into the path of the oncoming Surag Chettri, who made no mistake with the finish this time around. Abhishek Calvin got a hand onto Surag Chettri’s finish, but could not keep the ball from rolling into the back of the net.
Rajasthan United FC doubled their lead in the dying embers of the game after some fantastic individual work from substitute Raja Musharaf. Raja crawled out of a tight space and emerged with the ball from the near the corner flag on the right flank to dash towards goal and play in his teammate Harpreet Singh. Harpreet could no mistake from the six yard box with the amount of time he was afforded, and he calmly finished at the near post to put the game to bed for Rajasthan United FC.
Rajasthan United FC will now take on Kenkre FC in the decider for the I-League Qualifiers, with the odds in favour of Rajasthan United FC, for whom only a draw will suffice, whereas Kenkre FC must secure all three points to seal their place in I-League 2021-22.