Shillong, Apr 11: The final stage of the Second Division League will begin on 27th April, with two North East clubs among the four sides that are vying for a place in next season’s I-League (or whatever replaces it).
TRAU FC of Manipur, Chhinga Veng FC of Mizoram, Lonestar Kashmir FC and Ozone FC of Karnataka are the four teams.
They reached the last round after making it through a competitive qualifying round. Lonestar qualified out of Group A, finishing third behind Bengaluru FC reserves and FC Goa reserves (neither of which were eligible to move to the final round) in a five-team group, picking up 11 points in eight games.
Ozone FC reached the finals after an unbeaten campaign in Group B, winning six and drawing two of their eight games as their 20-point tally was seven more than second-placed Fateh Hyderabad AFC.
Group C featured a total of six teams and offered two qualifying spots, which were taken by Chhinga Veng and TRAU. The Mizoram side finished on top of the table with 20 points in 10 games, while TRAU secured second place on the last day of the competition, with a dramatic 3-2 win away at Chhinga Veng.
“We are looking forward to the final round to start,” Lonestar’s technical director Ishaq Ahmed was quoted as saying on the I-League website today. “Most of our results in the qualifying campaign were good. We had some of our matches shifted as well but the team showed great spirit and made it to the finals. Now, we aim to give our 100% and take each match as it comes.”
The first round of fixtures will see Ozone FC host Lonestar Kashmir at the Bangalore Football Stadium while Chhinga Veng will take on TRAU at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Imphal. Both matches will be held on 27th April.
(Photo: All India Football Federation)