The debutants have gone down from the second division.

Indian Arrows drove a dagger through Kenkre FC hearts with a last-gasp winner in the I-League 2021-22 Relegation Phase, here at the Naihati Stadium. Playing for survival, Kenkre failed to open their account against Arrows. Substitute Himanshu Jangra’s 90th-minute strike put the match to bed.

Carrying the momentum built on their recent form, Kenkre wanted to add another win to their tally, knowing that a Real Kashmir fumble could mean survival in the I-League. Seven minutes into the game, a loose pass in the Arrows’ defensive third came to Yash Mhatre but he could not do any damage with it.

In the final ten minutes of the game, Indian Arrows frustrated Kenkre by keeping more of the ball. Vibin Mohanan was denied by a good save from Samdup. Taison’s pull-back for Harji came to nothing as the latter’s strike was high. Kenkre were living on the edge as chaotic defending saw Banpynkhrawnam Nongkhlaw clear the ball off the line after the keeper had palmed substitute Himanshu Jangra’s cross away.

In the final minute of regulation time, Jangra put the ball in the net, breaking Kenkre hearts right at the death. Abdul Hanan casually played the ball into the box from the left as Suraj Negi failed to stay with Jangra. The substitute made no mistake as he slotted the ball home, giving Arrows the win and putting the final nail in Kenkre’s coffin.

Real Kashmir retain I-League status with draw

Real Kashmir held a powerful TRAU FC to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday, snapping their four-match losing streak, in the I-League here at the Kalyani Stadium. Real Kashmir’s Kouassi Bernard Yao scored the opening goal, while TRAU’s Meitalkeishangbam Roger equalised.

Despite the fact that Real Kashmir failed to earn three points in this match, they would be pleased with the result as they have retained their top-tier status in the Hero I-League following Kenkre FC’s 0-1 loss to Indian Arrows in Naihati.

The team from the Kashmir looked to attack early on and was also rewarded for their efforts as they broke the deadlock in the second minute through Kouassi Bernard Yao. The Ivory Coast striker smashed the ball into the back of the net on his right foot after being set up by Malem Meitei. 

TRAU won another free kick in the 68th minute and this time Roger took the shot ahead of Fernandinho. The change worked as Roger smashed the ball into the top corner of the net from a narrow angle to level the contest 1-1.

Bilal Khan faced a barrage of attempts from TRAU players during the final quarter of the match, including a brilliant effort from Joseph in the 82nd minute, but he stood tall to deny his rivals a lead. Bernard was sent off six minutes later for a foul on Helder Lobato Ribeiro, reducing Real Kashmir to ten men in stoppage time. However, they survived the added minutes to hold TRAU to a draw.

Aizawl FC end campaign with comeback win

The Relegation Playoff of the Hero I-League concluded with an enthralling win for Aizawl FC against Sudeva Delhi, here at the Kalyani Stadium. Sudeva took the lead and looked comfortable, however, Aizawl kept their calm, struck back, snatched all three points and finished at the top of the table.

Sudeva finished the game with ten men after their skipper Vanlalzuidika Chhakchhuak was sent-off in the closing stages of the match.

Despite the match being a dead rubber, it was an encounter between two sides who wanted to finish at the top of the Relegation Playoff table.

Youngster Shubho Paul was put clean through on goal with a defence-splitting pass from Basit Ahmed Bhat in the 17th minute. The young striker adjusted his footing and put Sudeva ahead with a typical striker’s finish into the bottom left corner of goal.

A long diagonal was played into the Sudeva box as Veer Choudhary misjudged the flight of the ball and missed his header. The ball landed in the feet of Ayush Chhetri, who took a touch before slotting it past the keeper seconds before the half-time whistle to draw level for Aizawl.

Right on the hour mark, Aizawl turned the game on its head. Luck was on their side as Lalremsanga’s delivery from the left picked up a deflection from Sairuatkima and struck the crossbar. On the rebound, Nishchal Chandan tried to clear it away from danger but ended up knocking the ball into the back of his own net, giving Aizawl a lead for the first time in the game.

Seven minutes from time, Aizawl substitute Lalliansanga came on and scored his side’s third, final and game-clinching goal after a through ball from Ramhlunchhunga. In the final minute of stoppage time, Sudeva Delhi skipper received his marching orders after a second yellow as Sudeva finished the game with ten men.

A come-back victory for Aizawl maintains their surreal alternate game winning streak and takes them to the top of the Relegation Playoff table, three points clear of TRAU in second. Sudeva emerged with no points and finished the season in fourth place, level on points with Indian Arrows.

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