Durand Cup: Rajasthan United and Chennaiyin FC ensure knock-out berths; ATK Mohun Bagan misses out

Rajasthan United FC came up with two late goals to beat Indian Navy 2-0 in the concluding Group B league match of the 131st Durand Cup and thus ensured its qualification to the knock-out stage (quarterfinals) of the tournament. The win helped the I-League side tally seven points from four matches and tie with ATK Mohun Bagan in the second place of the group standings.

But it pipped the Kolkata giant on a better head-to-head record to move into the quarterfinals alongside Mumbai City FC, which topped the group on a better goal average.

After playing a barren first half, Rajasthan United FC managed to beat the defensive organisation of the Indian Navy in the 73rd minute. The goal happened after the Navy goalkeeper V.K. Vishnu blocked a long-ranger from Rajasthan’s Raghav Gupta. Brazilian striker Sergio Barboza shot the rebound towards the goal before Lebanese forward Youssef Atriss ran in to help it home. Rajasthan doubled the lead in the 89th minute when Barboza placed home a nice assist from Gyamar Nikum to complete the win.

Chennaiyin FC also booked a place in the knock-outs as it downed home favourite NEROCA FC 2-0 in the concluding Group C match at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal. Needing a point from the match to progress to the next stage, Chennaiyin took the attack route right from the start and found the lead in the 15th minute off a goal from captain Anirudh Thapa.

Chennaiyin secured the full quota of points in the 71st minute when the Iranian forward Vafa Hakhamaneshi nodded home a free-kick from Thapa. Chennaiyin tallied seven points to join leader Hyderabad FC (nine points) in the quarterfinals.

The result:

Group B: Rajasthan United FC 2 (Atriss 73, Barboza 89) bt Indian Navy 0.

Group C: NEROCA FC 0 lost to Chennaiyin FC 2 (Thapa 15, Hakhamaneshi 71).

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