Rajasthan United FC stuns Delhi FC with late winner in I-League Qualifiers

Rajasthan United left it late in their match against Delhi FC to secure a narrow 1-0 victory over the tournament favourites in the I-League Qualifiers on Monday.

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: Rajasthan United narrowly defeated Delhi FC 1-0 in the I-League Qualifiers.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Rajasthan United left it late in their match against Delhi FC to secure a narrow 1-0 victory over the tournament favourites in the I-League Qualifiers on Monday.

Rajasthan United FC forced the issue with Aman Thapa's (90+1) strike as Delhi FC succumbed to the mounting pressure.

The win sent Rajasthan United level on points with Kenkre FC, who also won their match against Madan Maharaj FC earlier in the day.

Rajasthan United and Delhi FC stepped out onto the field as two like-minded teams competing against each other at a breakneck pace, with both sides employing frenetic pressing to win the ball back early.

The first big chance fell the way of the team from Rajasthan, who broke quickly by playing a long ball over the top for their captain Akeem Abioye, who got the ball under his control and released a quick shot with his favoured left foot that flashed narrowly wide of the goal.

The game was then halted for a short spell as Delhi FC goalkeeper James Kithan had to be substituted due to an injury.

After receiving treatment for an injured quadriceps muscle in the opening 10 minutes, James tried to carry on but could not continue much longer and had to be substituted with Suraj Mallick.

In a tightly contested affair, goal-scoring chances were few and far between as both teams battled in mid-field to deny their opponents any space.

In the 40th minute, Delhi FC received a free-kick roughly 25 yards from goal and would have fancied their chances with captain Anwar Ali, who has already scored two goals from a dead ball situation.

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However, Anwar was unable to produce the goods on this occasion as his low drive was blocked by the RUFC wall.

RUFC again threatened the Delhi FC goal with a fast counterattack. Akeem Abioye turned provider this time around, releasing striker Sukhjit Singh on goal.

Sukhjit did well to glide past the duo of Yumnam Raju and Karandeep Singh to create space for himself to take a shot on goal, which was directed straight towards the goalkeeper as Suraj Mallick made a comfortable save.

Rajasthan United was the first team to threaten in the second half from a set-piece situation, as Aman Thapa whipped in a fantastic corner which was headed just over the goal from point-blank range by Inder Mohan Singh.

In the 59th minute, Himanshu Jangra recorded Delhi FC's first shot on target in the second half after a quick interplay with Willis Plaza.

Jangra produced a left-footed effort that landed on target but did not trouble RUFC goalkeeper Vishal Joon, who blocked it comfortably.

There was action on the opposite end in the 70th minute as Aman Thapa got the better of Delhi FC defender Samuel Shadap before running clean through on goal from the inside-left channel.

As he tried to slide the ball past the charging goalkeeper, Suraj Mallick produced a fine save to deny Thapa. Aman Thapa once again emerged as RUFC's most potent attacking outlet as the winger came close to scoring time and time again.

Delhi FC nearly had a fortunate break in the 75th when a regulation cross from winger Nikhil Mali took a wicked deflection off RUFC defender Floyd John and cannoned onto the frame of the goal before bouncing back into play.

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