It is a historic day for Kashmiri football fans as Real Kashmir FC beat Hindustan FC 3-2 and become the first club from Kashmir to play in the I-League next season.
Goals from Ifham Tariq Mir (22’), Danish Farooq (40’) and Nadong Bhutia (67’) sealed the historic win for David Robertson’s side. Kushant Chauhan scored a brace (34’, 80’) for Hindustan FC.
Real Kashmir just needed a draw today to book their place in the I-League. Hindustan, on the other hand, had to win this tie in order to win the championship. Thus, quite expectedly, the Delhi club was in control of the game right from the beginning. Real Kashmir focused more on sitting back and depend on quick counter-attacks.
It was Real Kashmir who broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute. Kouassi Yao sent a square pass inside the box from the right flank which was received by Danish Farooq. He calmly received it and fed the ball to Tariq who found the back of the net.
A goalkeeping howler from Kashmir’s Mithun Samonto brought back Hindustan in the game in the 33rd minute. Samonto failed to grip Pushpender Kundu’s long free-kick from almost 35 yards. Kushant took advantage of it and tapped the ball into an empty net.
Just when it seemed that Hindustan was back in the match, Farooq scored the second goal to restore Real Kashmir’s lead in the 40th minute. Tariq returned the favour by assisting this time.
David Robertson brought in former Mumbai City FC and ATK forward Nadong Bhutia in the 67th minute in place of Farhan Ganie. The substitution proved to be a tactical masterclass as Bhutia netted the third and the winning goal within a minute. Yao sent a low cross inside the box from the left flank eyeing Bhutia’s run. The cross completely fooled Hindustan players inside the box as Nadong netted the ball into an empty net.
Kushant Chauhan converted a header in the 80th minute to bring back Hindustan into the game but it was not enough as Real Kashmir had the last laugh.
In another game, Ozone FC and TRAU FC played out a 0-0 draw to end their second in the third and fourth place respectively.