2nd Division I-League : Ozone FC Fail To Qualify For Final Round; Neroca May Too
In what could be the biggest setback of the season, Ozone FC, which came in with big promises, failed to qualify for the final round of the I-League Second Division. The team from Bangalore, which challenge the hegemony of Bengaluru FC as the dominant football force of the city, finished third in Group - C.
Fateh Hyderabad, a team comprising of youngsters with solid vision for the future, topped the group with 12 points courtesy of three wins and three draws. They are still unbeaten in this edition of the 2nd division. Placed second are Kenkre FC of Mumbai with 11 points. They also registered three wins and two draws but were defeated by Ozone FC in their last match.
Ozone FC, having tied up with the Dutch KNVB, had a Dutch manager who took care of their technical aspect. They also made a big statement with the signing of former Trinidad and Tobago World Cupper Cornel Glenn along with hosts of I-League players including Durga Bodo, Collin Abranches, Justin Stephen, Pradeep Mohanraj, Ishant Debnath and Srikanth Ramu to name a few.
Despite all these, they couldn’t make it to the final round of the second division I-League falling behind low-budget teams like Fateh Hyderabad and Kenkre FC.
Meanwhile in Group B, which comprises of Neroca FC, Mohammedan SC, Southern Samity and Hindustan FC, its a 3-way race with the Delhi team out of contention.
Neroca, who are on 12 points host Mohammedan Sporting, with 9 points in their last match in Imphal. Hindustan FC meanwhile host Southern Samity (9 Points) in Delhi. Going by the team’s form, Southern Samity shouldn’t be finding it tough to beat Hindustan FC, which will take them to 12 points, making them a strong contender for the final round.
Meanwhile in Imphal, if the match ends in a draw or a win for Neroca, they will be through to the final round. But if they lose, Mohammedan SC will also be on 12 points. In that scenario, the calculation will wear down to goal difference, which might spell doom for Neroca as they have the worst goal difference among the three teams.
If this happens, the two teams which started as the contenders for promotion to I-League - Neroca FC and Ozone FC - will have to cool their heels much earlier. But hopefully, Neroca will live upto expectations and make their way through to the final round from where they will fight strongly for promotion.