Mohammedan Sporting secured a place in the main stage of the I-League following a 2-0 win over city rival Bhawanipore FC in the penultimate match of the qualifiers.
The match at the Kalyani Stadium on Friday saw Sporting score once in each half, via Vanlalbiaa Chhangte and substitute Gani Ahmmed Nigam, and maintain its dominance all through to collect the maximum nine points from three matches.
The victory over Bhawanipore gave Sporting an unassailable lead in the points table, making the final round of action on October 19 inconsequential.
Bhawanipore, which is on six points with a game left, cannot go ahead of Sporting due to its inferior head-to-head record after Friday’s loss.
Sporting meets FC Bengaluru United in its last match.
Looking to secure the lone qualification berth on offer, Sporting began strongly with repeated raids on Bhawanipore. The latter’s defence caved in to the pressure in the 28th minute when Sporting’s Trinidad and Tobago striker Willis Plaza set up the ball for Chhangte to finish.
Bhawanipore tried to regroup after the break, but its search for the equaliser remained elusive.
Sporting sealed the tie in the 67th minute when Nigam, a 46th-minute substitute, chested down a free-kick and finished with a grounder to make it 2-0.
In the other match, Garhwal FC drew 1-1 with ARA FC to split points.
Mohammedan Sporting 2 (Vanlalbiaa Chhangte 28, Gani Ahmmed Nigam 67) bt Bhawanipore FC 0.
Garhwal FC 1 (Neeraj Bhandari 17) drew with ARA FC 1 (Surajit Seal 83-pen).