United Sikkim FC drew one-all with Mohammedan Sporting Club in the last match of the Final Round in the I-League Division 2 at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok to qualify for next seasons I-League. For USFC, Gangtok and the state of Sikkim it means that next season they will for the first time witness I-League top tier football.With today’s crucial point against an opponent United Sikkim FC top the Division 2 standings with 22 points. USFC are only on head-to-head ahead of ONGC, who also have qualified for next seasons I-League with Mohammedan Sporting Club coming a close third with 21 points.It was an intense game before a large crowd at the Paljor Stadium. USFC surged ahead in the 42nd minute when Nigerian Ayeni Bidemi Daniel converted a spot-kick. But after the break Mohammedan Sporting came back into the game with Alfred K. Jaryan scoring the equaliser a minute before the hour mark. Thereafter Mohammedan Sporting tried to get the winner, which would have given them promotion over USFC but the Snow Lions held on.
For former India captain and United Sikkim FC founder Baichung Bhutia it was a dream come true that his own club has qualified for the I-League. In today’s match Baichung came on as a second half substitute and lauded his team for the performance. “It was a challenge for us and the boys responded well,” Baichung said.
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Published with permission from Arunava about Football.