Royal Wahingdoh FC won their final Group B qualifier 3-1 against Mumbai's ONGC at the Howrah Maidan in Kolkata today to make the quarterfinal group stage of the 33rd Federation Cup on their debut. The Shillong side topped their group with three wins from as many matches, while United Sikkim FC finished second after a 1-0 win against Southern Samity, who finished third ahead of win- and pointless ONGC.
Royal Wahingdoh took an early 10th minute lead through a Bhawar Beekay goal and doubled their advantage when Jacki Chand Singh scored in the 35th minute. The 2-0 lead was a perfect cushion at the break, but Jacki Chand Singh added a third five minutes after the restart to ensure that Royal Wahingdoh would win the game and progress. ONGC could only reduce the deficit through a late Joel Sequeira goal.
"The boys played some wonderful football. We deserve to be in the main phase," coach Carlton Chapman said. "The boys are a talented lot and it would be a learning experience for us in the main phase of the Federation Cup," added the former India captain.
The win meant that Royal Wahingdoh top Group B to upset pre-qualifier favourites United Sikkim FC and Southern Samity. But now they will face much tougher opposition in the quarterfinal league Group A in Pune in record champions Mohun Bagan AC, Goan giants Churchill Brothers SC and local rivals Shillong Lajong FC.
In the day's other game United Sikkim FC won 1-0 against Southern Samity at the Mohun Bagan ground in a match which had become inconsequential due to the other games result. The USFC winner came late through Ayeni Bidemi Daniel, but with Royal Wahingdoh winning it only meant that United Sikkim FC finished second in the group.