Second Division final round kicks off on 24 May

Real Kashmir FC, Ozone FC, TRAU FC and Hindustan FC will battle it out in the final round to gain an I-League berth.

Interestingly, none of the four teams, viz. Real Kashmir FC, Ozone FC, TRAU FC and Hindustan FC featured in the final round last year.   -  AIFF Media

Following the completion of all the preliminary matches of the 2nd Division League, Real Kashmir FC, Ozone FC, TRAU FC and Hindustan FC will battle it out in the final round to gain an I-League berth. Interestingly, none of these four teams featured in the final round last season.

Real Kashmir, whio finished at the bottom of its group last season, staged a miraculous turn-around to top Group A with 22 points from 10 matches and remained unbeaten throughout the preliminary round.

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On the other hand, Group B witnessed a late twist on the final day as FC Kerala, who led the group for most of the preliminary round, lost 2-4 to Fateh Hyderabad. This led to Ozone FC reaching the final round with 19 points, despite finishing behind the Kerala Blasters reserves team.

Tournament debutant TRAU FC dominated the competition in Group C from the onset and finished the preliminary round campaign with 23 points to qualify for the final round Meanwhile, Delhi-based Hindustan FC sneaked into the final round as the best second-placed team from Group A with 20 points while remaining unbeaten.

The final round will be a single round-robin affair and will begin at the FSV Arena in Bangalore from the 24th of May. The opener will be played between Ozone FC and Real Kashmir.

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The round features a total of 16 teams split into four groups and after a round-robin that will see each team play three games, the top teams of each group will advance to the knockout stages, which culminates with the final which will be held on 26 May at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The current edition of the competition should be more wide open than usual as the reigning and three-time back-to-back champion AIFF Academy will not feature at the tournament. The last edition in 2017 was held in Kolkata.

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