Category: U-18 Youth League

Minerva beat FC Pune City to crown Hero Elite League champions

GOA: Minerva Punjab FC rode on two second-half strikes from Makan Winkle Chothe and Thoiba Singh to register a thumping 2-0 victory over FC Pune City to lift their maiden Hero Elite League 2018-19 silverware.

While Makan Chothe (59′) exploited a defensive lapse of FC Pune City to break the defence whereas Thoiba Singh (67′) doubled the lead from a freekick to take the match away from the lads from Pune.

Having won the Hero Elite League 2018-19, Minerva Punjab FC are the current holders of all the National championships comprising of Hero I-League, Hero Sub-junior League (U13 age group), Hero Junior League (U15 age group) and Hero Elite League (U18 age group).

It was FC Pune City who had their shot on target in the 2nd minute when Laldawngkima’s header was brilliantly saved by Minerva goalkeeper Devansh from a stone-throwing distance before Minerva skipper Shahjahan seeing his long-ranger going out of bounce in the 8th minute.

FC Pune City attacker Lelsemba had an effective game keeping the defenders on their toes throughout. The youngster made an impressive run from the middle but his resulting shot was too weak to unsettle the Minerva goalkeeper Devansh Singh in the 43rd minute.

At the stroke of the half-hour mark, Zothanpuia’s freekick was parried away by Devansh once again. Off the rebound, Nikhil Prabhu tried to poke it but missed the target by a whisker.

After the changeover, both teams showed more urgency to break the deadlock but eventually, it was the Punjab-based side who could hit the back of the net a minute before the hour-mark.

On a long throw-in, Shahjahan lobbed it to an onrushing Chothe who outran the two defenders to smash it home and put his team in the driver’s seat in the 59th minute.

8 minutes later, Thoiba nailed the final one in FC Pune City’s coffin from a superbly-executed freekick to stun the Pune lads completely.

Although they tried their level best to break the Minerva resilience until the final whistle, their efforts were staved off constantly by Minerva to clinch the silverware.

Along with the coveted trophy, Minerva Punjab FC won prize money of INR 5 lac whereas runners-up FC Pune City were handed a cheque of INR 1.5 lac.

U-18 Youth League: Lajong brush aside Blasters to clinch maiden title

SHILLONG: A spectacular end to an intriguing competition as Shillong Lajong FC crowned champions of the 2017/18 U-18 Youth League beating Kerala Blasters 2-0 in the final played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Saturday (May 26, 2018).

A 3rd-minute own goal by Lins P. Poulose and Kynsailang Khongsit’s second-half stoppage time strike proved to be enough for Lajong to clinch the U-18 Youth League title in their own backyard.

Lajong, enjoying a good support in the stands, were on fire from the word go as they took the lead as early as the 3rd minute following a school-boyish error from Kerala defender Lins Poulose who put the ball into his own net while trying to clear Samuel Lyngdoh Kynshi’s free-kick.

The Junior Reds then took control of the match. The home side probably should have scored a couple more goals before the break, but their finishing let them down.

Lajong looked dangerous every time they pushed forward and Donboklang Lyngdoh tried to curl the ball into the top corner, but Kerala goalkeeper Ayush Das produced a fine save to deny the attacker in the 19th minute.

Kerala continued to commit defensive mistakes and they were almost punished just past the half-hour mark by Parvaj Bhuiya, who pounced on to Phrangki Buam’s back pass before placing his effort wide of the target.

Meanwhile, Kerala, who looked lacklustre for much of the first-half, tried to find their way back into the game but the Lajong defence which was marshalled by Khongsit looked solid and impenetrable.

Kerala then contained the rampant Lajong until the referee Harish Kundu blew the half-time whistle and the score was 1-0 to the home side.

After the restart, Kerala tightened up defensively and started to see more of the ball and Abdullah KS was able to force Lajong custodian Neithovilie Chalieu into a great save with a long-range shot in the 53rd minute.

However, Kerala were still making errors in the middle as Parvaj picked up a lose ball from midfield and sent Donboklang through on goal but the latter’s effort narrowly missed the target.

Kerala pushed hard for an equalizer in the later stage of the game but it really wasn’t their day, none more so than when Adarsh AS hit the post in the 78th minute with Chalieu well-beaten.

While Kerala pressed high up looking for the parity, Lajong managed to double their lead in stoppage time through Khongsit, who placed himself perfectly for a shot in the box and scored a wonderful goal to put the result beyond questions.

Then Lajong intelligently and stubbornly defended their lead in the final minutes to bag their maiden U-18 Youth League glory.

U-18 Youth League Final: Lajong, Kerala set for final showdown

SHILLONG: Shillong Lajong and Kerala Blasters will square off in the final of the 2017/18 U-18 Youth League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to bring down the curtain on what has been a fabulous two weeks of football in Shillong.

Saturday’s showpiece event is the maiden U-18 Youth League final for both teams, and a favourite is hard to pick as Lajong are the only team who maintained a 100% record on their way to the final but their opponent Kerala are also unbeaten thus far, having built on a slow start to the tournament.

The two teams have faced a series of obstacles on the road to the final but with their 2-0 victory over a strong East Bengal side in semifinal, Lajong look set to enter the final in higher spirits. Whereas Kerala head into the final on the back of a closely fought 2-1 victory against SAI Kolkata in a game which saw them fail to reach their full potential.

Nonetheless, despite Lajong’s commanding performance against East Bengal the final seem evenly poised as Kerala proved equally threatening on the counter and relatively solid at the back.

With the likes of Adarsh AS, Badusha TT and Abdullah KS in the ranks, the Southern outfit will always pose a goal threat but the same can be said of Lajong, for whom Donboklang Lyngdoh and Phrangki Buam have been in exceptional form.

Lajong coach Bobby Nongbert has prepared his troops well, identifying the key strengths of his personnel and setting up a system to maximize the team’s effectiveness. He never got carried away with any one victory, pointing out areas for improvements whilst highlighting the strengths of his team.

Going into the final, Lajong’s strategy would be simple as they will be looking frustrate Kerala by keeping things compact and cutting off space before using speed on the transition in the form of Donboklang, Phrangki and Parvaj Bhuiya who all have the capacity to stretch Kerala’s defense.

From a Kerala Blasters perspective, reaching the final is somewhat of a surprise given the team is making their first ever U-18 Youth League appearance. For that achievement, immense credit must go to coach Renjith Thittayil Ajithkumar whose understated yet demanding approach appears to have coaxed the best out of his squad.

For Kerala it’s all about creativity and a sense of energy in the front-line, especially when you consider that a draw will go straight to penalties.

These solutions were nowhere to be found in their 2-1 semifinal win over SAI. Despite the fact that Kerala had a number of well structured and proactive chances in the attack, the team proved to be far too cautious and passive. Thus Ajithkumar’s charges must hit the ground running with a high-pressing, risk-taking and threatening style if they are to win the title.

The pressure will be very much on Lajong to clinch the title in their backyard. Kerala, on the other hand, have exceeded many people’s expectations by reaching this stage and they have a side that is more than capable of pressing for the title, and with so much riding on the outcome, tomorrow’s meeting is sure to be an absorbing affair which will kick-off at 4:30 pm.

Lajong Blank East Bengal To Reach U-18 Youth League Final

SHILLONG: The home-based Shillong Lajong FC advanced to the final of the ongoing U-18 Youth League with a 2-0 win over East Bengal in the second semifinal at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Thursday (May 24, 2018).

A second-half brace by winger Phrangki Buam (75′ & 86′) proved to be enough to prevent East Bengal from reaching back-to-back finals.

Lajong had the better of the early exchanges, but East Bengal gradually got back into it, and when the referee blew for half-time, goalless was a fair reflection of the action on offer.

Lajong looked in the mood from kick-off and East Bengal keeper Ayan Roy was kept busy as he made saves from Donboklang Lyngdoh and Parvaj Bhuiya in the opening 15 minutes.

Lyngdoh made his presence felt for Lajong again with a good run and shot in the 17th minute, but his effort was saved by East Bengal goalkeeper. Soon after, Phrangki shot over the bar.

But, once East Bengal had weathered the storm, they launched attacks of their own. Suranjit Singh was nearly clean through on goal, but was foiled by a brilliant tackle by Romen Singh in the 34th minute.

Six minute later, The Manipuri lad had another opportunity, but, this time, his shot was palmed clear by Lajong goalkeeper Neithovilie Chalieu.

Freestar Kharbangar, three minutes before half-time,had a golden chance to put Lajong ahead, but drilled his effort wide.

The second-half again saw Lajong in the early ascendancy, with Lyngdoh sending one of his trademark long-range efforts over the bar in the 54th minute. The striker had another opportunity around the hour mark, but this time Ayan was at full stretch to make the save.

But something had to give and it was Lajong who opened the scoring in the 75th minute when Phrangki slotted a brilliant free-kick home, to send the Lajong faithful into wild celebration.

Meanwhile, East Bengal had a great chance to equalize five minutes later when Jhantu Prasad picked out Lalcchanhima at the far post, but Chalieu’s interception denied the Mizo striker.

In the 86th minute, it was 2-0. Again, it was that man Phrangki, who converted from the spot to put his side in a commanding position for remainder of the match.

Nonetheless, East Bengal were far from beaten playing with energy and positivity but Lajong were able to play out the final moments of the game and go on to celebrate a famous win over the mighty East Bengal.

Lajong will take on Kerala Blasters in the finale on Saturday (May 26, 2018) at the very same venue.

Kerala Blasters Stun SAI To Reach U18 Youth League Final

SHILLONG: Kerala Blasters entered the final of the ongoing 2017/18 U-18 Youth League after beating SAI Kolkata 2-1 in the first semifinal played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Thursday (May 24, 2018).

In a finely-poised tie, Kerala took the lead through Abdullah KS in the 39th minute which was cancelled out just two minute later by Injaman Molla. However, Abdullah struck again early in the second-half to ensure his team’s progress to the final.

Both teams started nervously trying to gauge each other’s strengths in the initial quarter of the game. But as the game progressed Kerala gradually gained control over the proceedings.

The Southern outfit created numerous scoring opportunities, with Adarsh AS, Badusha TT and Abdullah all failing to make the most of their chances.

However, Kerala were rewarded for their persistent efforts when Abdullah found the back of the net in the 39th minute. The winger received a well-timed pass from Yashin Malik before rounding SAI custodian Tuhin Goswami to give Kerala the lead they were after.

Nonetheless, they soon allowed SAI to pull themselves back into finals contention when Injaman Molla put the ball past Ayush Das from inside the box just two minute later.

With parity restored, SAI increased their pressure and attacked the rival goal ferociously going close on a few occasions. Kerala, however, hung in with great determination and showed fantastic resolve in defense in the face of relentless pressure as the first-half ended 1-1.

The tension increased after the break as both sides continued to search for a lead, with quick counter attacks taking play from end-to-end.

SAI goalkeeper Tuhin Goswami had a blinder denying the impressive and relentless strike force of Adarsh, Badusha, Yasin and Abdullah time and again.

However despite Tuhin being in-form as ever, he couldn’t hold Kerala off forever and as the clock headed into the 50th minute mark Abdullah pounced on a loose ball to give his side the lead for a second time.

Kerala, thereafter, continued to attack the rival goal and had a couple of really close chances. First, Yasin skied his attempt from close before Muhammed Arfas VC had his long range effort saved by Tuhin.

Meanwhile, SAI battled hard towards the end looking for a equalizer but Kerala held tight to their one-goal advantage to see themselves through to a final against either Shillong Lajong or East Bengal on Saturday.

U-18 Youth League: Lajong, East Bengal Ready To Battle For A Spot In Final

SHILLONG: East Bengal and Shillong Lajong FC will collide in the second semifinal of the ongoing 2017/18 U-18 Youth League on Thursday (May 24, 2018) evening at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong, slated to kick-off at 7 pm.

This clash promises to be an entertaining affair as both sides play an attacking brand of football and will be full of confidence after posting some impressive results during group stage.

With three wins on the trot, Lajong are the only team to progress with the full nine available points compared to their opponent East Bengal who won all but one game, namely, a goalless draw against FC Pune City in their final Group B game.

However, many believe East Bengal went through a harder test in the group stage. The Red and Golds are battle tested as they enter the semifinals beating strong teams like SAI Trivandrum and Minerva Punjab FC and yet to concede a goal.

Skipper Manoj Mohammad has been an immovable object at the heart of the East Bengal defense but he will have his hands full in dealing with the presence of Donboklang Lyngdoh. That battle will be a key to the outcome, as will Lalcchanhima’s with Lajong’s Kynsailang Khongsit and Naoroibam Romen Singh, who have had a equally impressive tournament.

Having qualified for their first U-18 Youth League semifinals, Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet is hoping to continue going where no Lajong side has gone before – the final.

Nongbet has indicated his pleasure with how the campaign has progressed thus far and will confident come kick-off that his side will go out and do the business to keep their hopes for a maiden national title alive.

The players have received the message well and are excited by the opportunity presented in the match.

For East Bengal the match marks their second appearance in the U-18 Youth League semifinals, and an opportunity to progress that technical director Ranjan Chowdhury does not want to waste as they attempt to reach their second consecutive final.

Chowdhury’s tenure has been one of progress for East Bengal, but perhaps there is no better proof than reaching the U-18 Youth League final twice in succession. Thursday evening is a chance for the progress that Chowdhury, his charges and East Bengal fans across the country desire.

The game will probably have a high tempo as both sides have a quick passing and ball controlling style of play as has been seen in their previous games. Each side will try to dominate in the midfield and control the game, but who will actually impose themselves more is till unknown.

These are arguably two best teams in the competition and much is at stake as the winner will be favoured to lift the trophy on Saturday.

U-18 Youth League: SAI Kolkata, Kerala Blasters Set For An Engrossing Semifinal

SHILLONG: SAI Kolkata and Kerala Blasters will contest in the first semifinal of the ongoing 2017/18 U-18 Youth League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Shillong on Thursday (May 24, 2018) in what promises to be a high-octane thriller.

The two sides took distinctly different routes to the final four in a keenly contested tournament. SAI Kolkata would consider themselves extremely lucky to be in the semifinals as they were awarded 3 goals and 3 points against Sudeva FC despite the game ended in a goalless draw as the later team fielded an ineligible player which saw SAI Kolkata go through on goal difference ahead of TFA from Group A, while Kerala finished on top of it’s group despite rocky performances and having to sweat it out until the end of it’s third match.

SAI Kolkata have underwhelmed so far, scoring just twice during the group stage. Rohit Tigga has failed to continue his stunning form which he showcased in the zonal round and scored only once in three matches. Their defensive pairing of skipper Kiranmay Mandi and no-nonsense centre back Madan Mandi have been key to their progress.

While there might have been some criticism of SAI Kolkata’s pragmatic play in the group stage but their suitability for tournament football is beyond question.

On the other hand, Kerala’s run to the semifinals has looked a lot like SAI Kolkata’s, rarely pretty, occasionally frustrating, but eventually effective.

A below par performance against DSK Shivajians in their final Group C game was enough for Kerala to book their place in the semifinals, but they acknowledged that things have to improve in order to reach the final.

Admitting that his team has not played to it’s full potential so far in the tournament, Kerala coach Renjith Thittayil Ajithkumar was secure in saying that everyone will see a more organized Kerala Blasters in the knockout round.

Kerala have had problems defensively in this tournament and against SAI Kolkata they are likely to be tested at the back.

Coming into the competition Kerala set a goal of reaching the semifinals but Ajithkumar knows his team should not be content with just being there.

The clash might depend on individual mistakes rather than a beautiful build-up attack. Both teams find it hard in front of goal, scoring relatively few between them during the group stage. Although SAI Kolkata has the plaudit of the best defense in the tournament along with East Bengal, not conceding a single goal throughout the group stage.

The game has no clear favorites and will only be determined on the pitch either within the 90 minutes or during the penalty shootout session. Either ways we hope to see an entertaining game which will kick-off at 3 pm.

East Bengal, Lajong complete U-18 Youth League semifinal line-up

SHILLONG: Two more teams joined SAI Kolkata and Kerala Blasters in completing the semifinal picture of the 2017/18 U-18 Youth League, with East Bengal and Shillong Lajong securing their spots on Monday (May 21, 2018) as the league phase concluded in Shillong.

East Bengal made sure they claimed top spot in Group B having played a goalless draw with FC Pune City at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium while SAI Thiruvananthapuram bowed out of the competition despite beating Minerva Punjab.

In Group D Shillong Lajong suffered no disruption in their performance levels after comfortably defeating FC Goa to earn their place in the last four while Aizawl FC beat Ozone Football Academy to finish on third place.

SAI Thiruvananthapuram 2-1 Minerva Punjab FC

The Kerala lads courtesy a brace from Shijin T. in the 11th and 21st minute. Minerva Punjab got their consolation goal through Indian U-17 World Cupper Anwar Ali in the 82nd minute.

SAI Thiruvananthapuram went into the game with a slim chance of qualifying. They needed to win their match big and hoping for a favour from FC Pune City, who faced off East Bengal later in the day, but there was to be no miracle as the later teams played out a goalless draw ending SAI’s semifinal hopes.

East Bengal 0-0 FC Pune City

East Bengal and FC Pune City settled for a goalless draw in their final Group B game. With the result, East Bengal advanced to a semifinal clash against Shillong Lajong on Thursday, while Pune exit the competition with just one point from their three group matches.

The first-half was dominated by the Red and Golds, who had the lion’s share of the scoring opportunities. Yet, despite the best efforts of Lalcchanhima and Jhantu Prasad, East Bengal were unable to break through before the interval.

The second-half unfolded much like the opening 45 minutes, as both sides showed plenty of endeavour to break the deadlock but lacked success, with the final whistle cutting their quest for goals short.

Shillong Lajong 2-1 FC Goa

In a winner-takes-all clash, Kynsailang Khongsit and Donboklang Lyngdoh scored on the either side of the pitch as Lajong beat FC Goa 2-1 to make it three wins from three in Group D.

Determined to finish the group stage with three wins from as many games, Lajong were quick to settle into their rhythm to dictate the tempo of the game. They also controlled both territory and ball possession for the majority of the game, restricting FC Goa to counter attacks. Their persistence paid dividends in the 22nd minute when Donboklang slotted home from close range to put Lajong ahead.

Hitting their opponents on the break, FC Goa looked well in control at times giving Lajong goalkeeper Neithovilie Chalieu his toughest test of the tournament so far. Despite the momentum turning in FC Goa’s favour, Lajong fought back to grab a second in the 61st minute through Kynsailang.

Facing a two-goal deficit, FC Goa put up a fight and were also rewarded with a 66th-minute minute goal through, Lalawmpuia, who converted from the spot, but that was all FC Goa could manage as Lajong held on to take home the win and a spot in the semifinals.

Ozone Football Academy 0-2 Aizawl FC

The match was all about pride as it was a dead-rubber in Group D, with both sides were already eliminated.

Aizawl were expected to dominate possession and territory against a relatively weaker Ozone side, and that was the way it turned out. They were in their stride early on, with Paul Ramfangzauva going close with a header.

But Aizawl soon discovered the difficulty of playing against teams who sit back and soak up the pressure – they are always very dangerous on the counter.

However, Aizawl finally broke the deadlock through David Lalhlansanga in the 47th minute before Ramfangzauva put the result beyond questions in the 69th minute.

SAI Kolkata; Kerala make it to the U-18 Youth League semifinals

SHILLONG: The penultimate day of group stage in U-18 Youth League final round in Shillong saw SAI Kolkata and Kerala Blasters booked their place in the semifinals with hard-fought victories on Sunday (May 20, 2018).

In Group A SAI Kolkata booked their place in the semifinals after beating Sporting Clude de Goa at MFA Turf while Tata Football Academy took the second place after beating Sudeva FC at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Meanwhile, the final standings in Group C saw Kerala Blasters go through on difference in goals scored. Kerala were made to work very hard for their victory over DSK Shivajians at MFA Turf. While Bengaluru FC go home with their 1-0 victory over Bhaichung Bhuita Football Schools as a consolation prize.

Sporting Clude de Goa 0-2 SAI Kolkata
In a keenly contested first-half SAI striker Rohit Tigga was the first to go close to scoring with a 23rd-minute drive that hit the crossbar.

Sporting goalkeeper Akshat Gopal Hadkonkar produced two crucial saves to deny both Rohit and Bisal Tigga in one-on-one situations before Trijoy Savio Dias threatened at the other end to conclude the first-half.

The game has opened up after the break as both sides were searching for a crucial blow. Anselm Aloysius D’souza and Trijoy combined well on the left flank for Sporting while the Tigga brothers were a constant threat with their darting runs in Sporting’s final third. It was one of those runs by Bishal which opened the scoring for SAI in the 83rd minute when he set up his elder brother to score. Then Bishal put the scoreline beyond doubts by scoring in the stoppage time.

Tata Football Academy 1-0 Sudeva FC
In a tight game which could have gone either way, a moment of sheer brilliance by Vikash Balmuchu and a clinical finish by Gaurab just before half-time proved the difference after a thrilling 90 minutes in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The first-half proved to be a tense and exciting affair with both teams having their moments in attack although there were not many clear chances on goal. The deadlock was finally broken in breath-taking fashion one minute before half-time when Vikash showed all of his brilliance to beat a clutch of defenders before picking out Gaurab with a delightful improvised cross before the later smashed in an unstoppable volley, which proved to be the decider.

Kerala Blasters 3-2 DSK Shivajians
Knowing that goal difference could heavily influence their fate in the competition, Kerala started aggressively and took the lead as early as the 4th minute through Abdullah KS.

However, Shivajians were quick to settle into their rhythm and found the equalizer in the 16th minute through Ashish Jha. Kerala came back stronger in the second-half and regained their lead within three minutes into the session courtesy Pragyan Sundar Gogoi before Adarsh AS made it 3-1 in the 69th minute.

However, Kerala were reduced to ten men just four minutes later when midfielder Shinu R was sent off. The one-man advantage paid dividends for Shivajians who hit back to reduce the margin in stoppage time after Pratap Kumar Tamnag found the back of the net. Thereafter, Shivajians went all-out for the equalizer, however, Kerala held firm in the final minutes to secure passage into the semifinals.

Bengaluru FC 1-0 Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools
With a place in the semifinals on the line, Bengaluru threw their all at this encounter. Bengaluru made a strong start with several early attempts on goal before taking the lead in the 6th minute through Biswa Darjee, who slotted from Lalengzama’s pass.

However, it proved equally as busy at the other end of the field for Bengaluru keeper Tamal Naskar who tried to contain the pressure from Yash Sanjay Angre and Joe Massey whose combined skill and power proved difficult to close down.

While Bengaluru enjoyed more of possession in the first-half, the two teams tallied seven shots, although BBFS’ five on-target was a much better statistic to take into the break than their opponents single on-target effort.

The back-and-forth continued in the second-half as the two sides tussled for dominance. With the increasing possibility that goal difference would decide the outcome of the group, Bengaluru continued to push up and create chances but lacked the finishing touch as the game ended 1-0 with the Southern outfit left to rue missed opportunities.

East Bengal, Lajong continue to dominate competition in U-18 Youth League

SHILLONG: East Bengal and Shillong Lajong were Saturday’s big winners in the 2017/18 U-18 Youth League final round. With their second win in as many games both teams continued to dominated the competition respectively in Group B and D.

East Bengal kicked off proceedings in Group B with a comfortable win over Minerva Punjab at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium before SAI Trivandrum claimed their first win of the competition beating FC Pune City in the late fixture.

In Group D, FC Goa eased past Aizawl FC 3-0 to keep their semifinal hopes alive before Shillong Lajong FC produced an convincing performance to beat Ozone Football Academy at MFA Turf.

East Bengal 3-0 Minerva Punjab FC

Lalcchanhima, Rahul Dey and Jhantu Prasad were lively from the outset as East Bengal raced to a two-goal lead inside the opening 20 minutes courtesy a brace by Lalcchanhima (10th and 18th minute). Minerva Punjab skipper Jeakson Singh and Nongdamba Naorem offered the Punjab-outfit some hope on the counter but most of their attempts have been stifled by the well organized East Bengal defense.

The Red and Golds maintained a total control in the second-half but they took their foot of the pedal and despite creating a number of opportunities they had to wait till the 83rd minute to add their third through PC Rohlupuia.

Following their comprehensive win East Bengal should now be considered as the favorites to make the semifinals from Group B and will need to secure a draw against SAI to make it out of the group stage while SAI Trivandrum need to win the match at any cost to progress.

SAI Trivandrum 2-0 FC Pune City

SAI always had the upper hand in this match and should have won with a far convincing score-line. Goals from Muhammed Inayath (30th minute) and Vaishakh V (35th) in the first-half put SAI in firm command and it proved to be a comfortable win as FC Pune City never hinted at any threat of a comeback. Although in second-half FC Pune City had a couple of moments on attack, but the SAI defense was in uncompromising mood.

FC Goa 3-0 Aizawl FC

FC Goa asserted their dominance for the majority of the first-half by controlling both ball possession and territory. Aizawl, on the other hand, was determined to stem the tide and showed a lot of heart and fighting spirit to stay in the game but all their hard work was undone by a 35th-minute strike by Lalawmpuia.

Aizawl grew in confidence in the second-half and continued to attack in search of an equalizer, but after a spell of possession with little penetration, FC Goa were back on top and added their second in the 63rd minute through Lalawmpuia, who put his body on the line with a diving header from a Vincy Barretto corner that he powered home. Then skipper Princeton Rebello sealed all three points for FC Goa after converting from the spot in the 87th minute. For Aizawl, the second consecutive loss of it’s group stage has signaled it’s exit from the tournament.

Ozone Football Academy 0-2 Shillong Lajong FC

The opening half lacked quality with both sides giving the ball away too easily, but all was going well for Lajong by the middle of the second-half. Phrangki Buam opened the scoring in the 58th minute and Parvaj Bhuiya added a second seven minutes later. Meanwhile, Ozone upped their efforts towards the later stages of the second-half to get something out from the match, but it proved too little too late as Lajong did well to protect it’s gains and emerge victorious. On the back of this convincing victory, Lajong, who have 6 points from 2 fixtures, will be feeling confident about their semifinal chances before facing FC Goa in a winner-takes-all clash on Monday.