Rangdajied United swept into the top flight for the first time in its history after claiming a 3-1 win over Emta Mohammedan Sporting at the Football Stadium here on Saturday.
An own goal by Charles Dzisah was followed by strikes from Restom Khriam and Korean Ho Jun Shin, ensuring that the Shillong club finished as the second division I-League champion. Having already clinched the other I-League berth on Thursday, Mohammedan Sporting did not exert itself unduly. “Right from the beginning, our aim was to win the second division I-League,” an elated Rangdajied coach Khlaim Pyrkhatsyiemlieh said afterwards. “We came out wanting to attack today. After going 2-0 up, we slowed down a little because they (Mohammedan) had given up.”
Known until last year as Ar Hima, the club had been attempting to advance to the top tier since 2010, and this time only just made it to the final phase. “We changed our name to Rangdajied, which means a union of heroes, and here we are,” general secretary K.S. Kurbah, himself a former player with the club, said. It took all of five minutes for Rangdajied to skip ahead, the Sporting centre-half Dzisah inadvertently guiding Shin’s cross into the net. Skipper Khriam doubled the advantage on the brink of half-time, finishing past the ’keeper after being put through by Babatunde Ayomide.
The game then settled down to a torpid pace, neither side showing great zest. Sporting substitute Jerry Zirsingha nodded in a corner on 84 minutes to reduce the margin to 2-1, but Shin restored Rangdajied’s margin two minutes later.
The results: Rangdajied United 3 (Charles Dzisah (o.g.) 5, Restom Khriam 45, Ho Jun Shin 86) bt Emta Mohammedan Sporting 1 (Jerry Zirsingha 84); Bhawanipore FC 5 (Snehasis Dutta 45, J. Marco Barreto 64, J. Sana 73, Abinash 85, Silva 90) bt Mumbai Tigers 3 (Surkumar Singh 37, Bikash Jairu 81, Durga Boro 90).