Kolkata: Mohammedan Sporting on Friday clinched an I-League berth after seven years with a 2-0 win over city rivals Bhawanipore FC in the qualifiers here.
Vanlalbiaa Chhangte (28th minute) and Gani Ahmmed Nigam (67th) struck on either side of half-time to win the match. With three wins on the trot, Mohammedan now have an unassailable lead of nine points over their nearest rivals to seal the lone I-League spot with a round to spare.
The 131-year-old club will thus become the lone Kolkata team in the I-League to be played entirely in West Bengal in the absence of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal who have joined the top-tier Indian Super League.
The I-League is likely to start in December.
Mohammedan Sporting last played the I-League in 2013-14 but only to be relegated the same season. These qualifiers have seen plenty of controversy surrounding the eventual winners - with the sacking of head coach Yan Law after the first two matches (both of which they had won). Two police complaints added to the drama, but the team saw this period off to achieve their objective.
In an inconsequential final round match on October 19, Mohammedan Sporting will face FC Bengaluru United, followed by the match between ARA FC and Bhawanipore FC.