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Reliance Foundation Development League: Bengaluru FC Extend Perfect Run; Hyderabad FC Keep Top-two Hopes Alive

Bengaluru FC’s perfect run continued as they scripted a 5-2 victory over Jamshedpur FC, while Hyderabad FC kept their top-two hopes alive with a thrilling 3-2 win over Chennaiyin FC in sixth-round Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) matches on Saturday.

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The result means Bengaluru consolidated their place at the top of the table with 18 points from six games and it could boil down to their last game of the campaign against second-placed Kerala Blasters FC to decide the champions of the inaugural RFDL.

Hyderabad, meanwhile, have 10 points from six matches and can still harbour hopes of a top-two finish provided other results go in their favour and they beat Jamshedpur in their last fixture. The Red Miners are out of contention while Chennaiyin had bowed out before.

Jamshedpur took an early lead against Bengaluru riding Lenin Singh’s fourth-minute strike at the Nagoa Ground, but it was all Bengaluru after that.

Goals from top-scorer Rahul Raju (17th, 52nd), Lastborn Mawphniang (45+1), Bekey Oram (47th) and Jagdeep Singh (60th) sealed the deal for Naushad Moosa’s boys who have won all their matches so far.

Substitute Nikhil Barla scored for Jamshedpur in the 70th minute but it was too little too late as the Red Miners succumbed to their third straight defeat.

Lenin finished off a brilliant team move to give Jamshedpur the lead, Lalruatmawia and Sorokhaibam Metei combining well to set up the defender.

Bengaluru did not take much time to erase the deficit, Raju meeting Namgyal Bhutia’s cross inside the box with an acrobatic scissor kick that thundered into the back of the net.

The Blues doubled their lead in first-half added time when Jagdeep’s ball into the box caught the Jamshedpur backline off guard, Lastborn making the most of some slack defending to slot home from close.

It was one-way traffic in the second period, Bekey drawing the keeper off his line to smash home after Damaitphang Lyngdoh and Raju did some good work in the final third. Moments later, Bengaluru were gifted a fourth when a poor back-pass allowed Raju to pounce on the loose ball and dink it over the keeper.

At the hour mark, Amay Morajkar’s corner found Jagdeep who headed home to make it 5-1. Jamshedpur scored a consolation goal when Barla found himself on the end of a botched clearance from Robin Yadav to make it 5-2.

In the evening kickoff at the Benaulim Ground, Abhijit Pa (21st) gave Hyderabad the lead after Chennaiyin keeper Devansh Dabas made a series of saves only to be beaten by Abhijith who latched on to a stray ball and smashed it into the back of the net.

Chennaiyin equalised inside the next eight minutes, Johnson Mathews (29th) latching on to a through ball from Joseph Lalvenhima to slot it past the keeper. Six minutes before halftime, Hyderabad got back their lead, Lalchungnunga Chhangte (39th) dribbling past a few blue shirts to slam home a pass from Abdul Rabeeh.

Chennaiyin made it 2-2 after the break, Solaimalai (57th) finding the top corner after a bit of pinball inside the box. Both teams tried hard for the winner and created a few chances before Mohammed Rafi (85th) scored the winning goal for the Indian Super League champions.

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