The Durand Cup qualifiers played on Friday saw two more teams progress into the next round. Army Juniors comfortably beat Ahbab FC of New Delhi 3-0, with captain Arjun Tudu grabbing the second hattrick of the tournament.
Tudu was in impressive form as he opened the scoring in the 21st minute with a well-placed header and then scored again before halftime. He scored his third in the 84th minute as Army Juniors, in red and blue kits, dominated possession and kept the Delhi club at bay.
In the other qualifier, ONGC defeated Indian Air Force XI 2-1. R Thapliyal made it 1-0 for Air Force in the 35th minute with a free kick that the ONGC goalkeeper allowed to drift over his head. But the ball curled into the top left corner of the net to leave him ruing the mistake and gift the opposition the first goal. In the second half, Baba Tunde equalised for ONGC and Phool Chand Hembram scored the winner in the 82nd minute.
10 teams have already been seeded directly into the quarterfinals. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will play in the tournament after skipping the last two years. The other clubs include Churchill Brothers, Dempo, Sporting Clube de Goa, Mahindra United, JCT Phagwara, Air India, Shillong Lajong Club and Army XI.
I-League clubs Mahindra United and Sporting Clube de Goa are placed in Group A along with a qualifier; Mohun Bagan, JCT and a qualifier in Group B; Dempo, Air India and Army XI are in Group C and I-League champions Churchill, East Bengal and Lajong FC are placed in Group D.