Judgment day awaits AUAFC’s promotion pursuit

Ambernath United Atlanta FC is experiencing a remarkable surge in the form at the most opportune moment, showcasing some of their finest football in the Hero I-League 2, the third-highest stage in Indian Football. Their impressive six-match winning streak has brought them tantalizingly close to securing promotion to the Hero I-League for the upcoming 2023-24 season. Notably, four of these victories were achieved towards the end of the group stage, with the remaining two triumphs occurring in the final round.

The team’s journey to the top of the table commenced with a 1-0 victory over FC Bengaluru United in the opening match of the final round. This was followed by an emphatic 5-1 triumph against Shillong Lajong, which propelled Steven Dias’ side to a perfect record of two wins out of two matches, amassing six points in the process. The top two positions in the final round standings guarantee promotion to the Hero I-League next season.

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Ambernath United Atlanta FC exhibited their dominance during the resounding 5-1 victory over Shillong Lajong. Arif Khan and Adil Shaikh found the net in the first half, enabling their team to enter halftime with a comfortable 2-0 lead. The second half commenced with Shravan Shetty extending the advantage to 3-0. Although Hardy Nongbri managed to pull one back for Shillong Lajong, reducing the deficit to two goals, Johnson Matthews and Himanshu Patil sealed the deal with late goals, culminating in a resounding 5-1 triumph.

On the other hand, United SC has yet to register a point in the final round, having suffered defeats in both of their matches thus far. Their opening fixture saw them lose 2-1 to Shillong Lajong away from home. In their subsequent home match against Delhi FC, United SC engaged in a closely contested battle, with Delhi FC initially establishing a commanding 3-0 lead. United SC demonstrated resilience by scoring two goals to narrow the margin, but ultimately fell short, succumbing to a 3-2 defeat. As they prepare to host the table-topping Ambernath United Atlanta FC, United SC will be eager to mount a strong response.

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Ambernath United Atlanta FC’s head coach, Steven Dias, expressed immense admiration for his team, commending the players’ unwavering dedication since day one and their unwavering commitment to giving their all. However, Dias emphasized the importance of not becoming complacent and refraining from premature celebrations, despite their favorable position. A win against United SC at the Kalyani Sports Complex would guarantee Ambernath’s promotion to the Hero I-League next season, but even a draw could be sufficient if other results align favorably.

The AUA FC squad set to face United SC includes Himanshu Patil as captain, accompanied by players such as Allan Dias, Arif Shaikh, Manoj Gupta, Ashley Koli, Johnson Matthews, Abhijit Tawhare, Shravan Shetty, Aaron D’Costa, Umesh Perambra, Mandeep Singh Multani, Rahul Murali, Kaustubh Ravindra, Nishant Shetty, Nitesh Monde, Tejas Raut, Bipin Rawat, Bersal Viegas, Vishnu Menon, and Yasheel Shah.

The impending question looms: Can Ambernath United Atlanta FC secure their promotion to the Hero I-League with one match remaining, or will United SC spoil their celebrations?