NEW DELHI, MAY 26: Ambernath United Atlanta FC were beaten 3-1 by Delhi FC at the Minerva Sports Complex in Mohali, Punjab on Friday 26th May 2023.

A historic promotion which was 90 minutes away remained distant as Ambernath lost their last two matches, 4-3 against United SC and 3-1 against Delhi FC.

Steven Dias’ side had gone on a six match winning run that had propelled them to the final round and top of the final round table with two fixtures to go.

But Delhi SC were better on the day and Ambernath United Atlanta FC just could not make it over the finishing line.

A brace from Bali Gagandeep and a late goal from Vanlalhriatzuala K secured the Hero I-League 2 championship in style on the final Matchday.

Captain Himanshu Patil was as on target for Ambernath very early in the second half that had brought them level but Delhi FC responded in style.

For Ambernath United Atlanta FC, their debut in the Hero I-League 2 has been nothing short of sensational. From one win in their first four group games to four wins in four final group games, they defied the odds to qualify for the final round as Group D toppers.

The winning streak did not stop there, they beat FC Bengaluru United by 1-0 and topped it off with a thumping 5-1 win against Shillong Lajong. With six points out of six they were top of the table.

But this shows the competitive nature of the league as every result caused tectonic shift in the table. Shillong’s win at home to FC Bengaluru United and Ambernath’s loss away to United SC meant Shillong qualified for the I-League next season and Delhi FC vs Ambernath United Atlanta FC was going to be like a final to decide who joined them.

A draw would have favoured Ambernath but Delhi FC who had the home support were in no mood to concede. Eventually Ambernath lost 3-1 and ended up with six points from four matches, one point short of what was required for promotion to the Hero I-League.

Head coach Steven Dias was quick to praise his side’s journey in the Hero I-League 2. Nobody expected them to go this far in their debut season. But to defy all odds and be 90 minutes away from promotion? That truly was a spectacular achievement from the club from Maharashtra.

Delhi FC are crowned the champions while Shillong finish runners-up. Both these side get promoted to the Hero I-League 2023-24.

Meanwhile, Ambernath United Atlanta FC, FC Bengaluru United and United SC will all play the final round of Hero I-League 2 for the 2023-24 season which is the next season.


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