Kolkata (West Bengal)[India], May 23 (ANI): Ambernath United Atlanta FC succumbed to a 3-4 loss at the Kalyani Sports Complex to United SC as they lost for the very first time in the I-League 2 final round. Shillong Lajong's 2-1 win against FC Bengaluru United coupled with this loss meant that Steven Dias' side slipped to second in the table and the promotion to the I-League is now at stake on the final match day.
United SC had lost both their matches so far and Ambernath United Atlanta FC on the contrary had won both their matches making it a bottom of the table vs top of the table clash. United SC had suffered narrow losses to Shillong Lajong and Delhi FC. Ambernath had won by 1-0 and 5-1 in their two final-round matches.
It was United SC who took the lead in the 38th minute through Tarak Hembram. Rahul made it 2-0 to the home side in the 56th minute. Just when Ambernath needed a response, Ashley Koli stepped up and slotted home a magnificent finish from a cross to half the deficit in the very next minute. The final 30 minutes of the match were nothing short of a roller coaster as Tejas Raut's own goal gave United SC a 3-1 lead.
Bulk of the edge of the seats action came into stoppage time. Mandeep Singh Multani once again reduced the deficit to one for Ambernath scoring in the second minute of stoppage time. United SC at 3-2 looked a bit vulnerable as Ambernath United Atlanta FC could not score the equaliser after a scramble in the box and the ball being cleared off the line. The scoreline could have been 3-3 but it was United SC who led a counter attack and scored a brilliant goal from outside the box. Subrata Murmu scoring in the fourth minute of added time to make it 4-2. With three minutes left in the added on time, Ambernath United Atlanta FC had a mountain to climb. Skipper Himanshu Patil headed home their third in the seventh minute but there was very little time left to find the equaliser as United went over the finishing line winning 4-3.
Ambernath United Atlanta FC would feel a chance was missed to seal promotion as a draw would have been favourable considering they were 3-1 down at one point. But United SC just did enough to seal all three points and got on board in the final round. This win coupled with FC Bengaluru FC's 2-1 loss meant they are now fourth in the table with three points.
This brings us to the final match day on Friday. 26th May 2023 when we shall conclude the I-League season 2022-23 as a whole. Shillong Lajong's 2-1 win took them top of the table with seven points in the four matches they have played. They have been promoted to the Hero I-League for the 2023-24 season. Ambernath United Atlanta FC face Delhi FC away from home and this becomes the decided on who finishes second in the table. Ambernath are 2nd with 6 points and Delhi FC are 3rd with 4 points. Winner of this match will be promoted to the Hero I-league next season. A draw is favourable for Ambernath United Atlanta FC as it will take them through.
Can Ambernath United Atlanta FC finish their season on a high? Will their debut season in the I-League 2 reach an epic conclusion?(ANI)