The I-League second division group stage ended on Thursday with two teams from each group making their way to the final round. Delhi FC and Kenkre FC finished in the top two in Group A. Meanwhile Madan Maharaj FC and Rajasthan United FC finished in the top half of Group B.
The I-League Qualifiers, being held in Bengaluru, was supposed to be a ten team affair with five teams in each group. However, Hyderya SportsFC were disqualified after they were found to have used a fake bank guarantee to fulfill the criteria required to play in the tournament. Thus, Group A was left with only four teams.
In Group A, both Madan Maharaj FC and Rajasthan United finished unbeaten in their three games. Both the teams finished with five points and a goal difference of +1. Ryntih FC from Shillong finished third with three points to their name.
The biggest upset, though, was FC Bengaluru United finishing last in their group with just two points from three matches. Richard Hood’s men were among the favorites to win the tournament and qualify for the I-League. The club has now been unsuccessful in qualifying for the I-League for the second consecutive time.
Delhi FC dominated Group B; Kenkre FC also progress
In Group B, Delhi FC and Kenkre FC finished with nine and seven points respectively. Delhi FC had a dominating run of four wins in four matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding only two.
Kenkre FC, from Mumbai, are no strangers to the I-League Second Division. Kenkre FC ended with two wins and one draw, losing to Delhi FC in the final clash. Both teams were testing their bench-strength in the last match as both teams had already qualified for the final round.
Similar to FC Bengaluru United, Kerala United FC had a very disappointing run in the Qualifiers. Owned by the owners of Sheffield United, the side from Kerala were expected to reach the final round. They finished one point behind Kenkre FC and are out of the tournament. Corbett FC from Uttarakhand and ARA FC from Gujarat finished fourth and fifth in the group respectively.
The final round will be played amongst Delhi FC, Kenkre FC, Madan Maharaj FC and Rajasthan United FC. All teams will play each other once and the team which finishes top of the table will be promoted to the I-League 2021-22.