RoundGlass Punjab FC (RGPFC) were crowned champions of the 2022-23 I-League at the Ambedkar Stadium, beating Rajasthan United FC 4-0. They stands to qualify for promotion to ISL on the basis of the AFC roadmap, subject to fulfillment of all financial criteria as agreed upon by all stakeholders in the Indian Super League (ISL). They achieved this feat with one match to spare. Chencho Gyeltshen, Luka Majcen, Juan Mera and Valpuia scored for the winners.
RGPFC coach, Staikos Vergetis named an unchanged line-up from the previous match for this crucial encounter. Rajasthan United, meanwhile, started with their strongest side, hoping to delay the away side's title push.
Both teams started cautiously in the beginning, trying to control the possession of the ball. The first real attack came for the home side when Bektur Amangeldiev got the better of the defender and poked in a cross across the six yard box but could not find a teammate.
Freddy Lallawmawma had the first chance to score, when he was set up by Juan Mera but his shot flew over the post. RGPFC did not have to wait long to score. They took the lead in the 16th minute when Brandon's cross was met inside the box by a leaping Chencho Gyeltshen who jumped above the defender to score via a deflection of the defender.
RGPFC could have increased the lead soon after from a corner. Juan Mera's corner was deflected towards goal by Luka Majcen which came back off the crossbar. The deflection fell kindly to Hmingthanmawia but his header fell straight for the Rajasthan keeper Vishal Joon. RGPFC kept on testing the home defence with Chencho and Juan having shots on target.
RGPFC doubled their lead in the 40th minute through Luka Majcen. Brandon Vanlalremdika and Ajay Chhetri combined well in the right flank and the latter's cross was met with power by Luka Majcen who slotted a header past the Rajasthan United keeper. Rajasthan's forward Otabek Zokirov tested RGPFC keeper Kiran Kumar Limbu, who easily parried the shot away which was the best chance for Rajasthan to score in the half.
The home side started brightly in the second looking to make an impact early, but all their attacks were thwarted by the RGPFC defence. At the other end RGPFC were threatening to score from every attack. Chencho was making excellent runs behind the Rajasthan defence and came close to scoring a couple of times but his efforts were saved by the Rajasthan keeper.
Such a run bore fruit in the 76th minute when he was released by Luka Majcen with a cross-field pass. Chencho teed up a pass for the on-rushing Juan Mera who dribbled past defender Amritpal Singh and finished past Rajasthan keeper with his weaker right foot to put the game beyond the home side's reach.
Valpuia put the final touches for the I-League winners in injury time, meeting substitute Juan Carlos Nellar's free kick with a powerful header past Vishal Joon. The final whistle saw the winners jumping in jubilation along with the supporters in the stands.
RGPFC have 49 points from twenty-one matches while Rajasthan United FC have 25 points from twenty-one matches. RGPFC will face TRAU FC in their final match of the season at Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula where they will be presented with the I-League trophy.