William Pauliankhum’s early second-half strike was enough for Rajasthan United FC (RUFC) to overcome the resilient Bodoland FC in a Group F fixture of the Durand Cup 2023, played at the SAI Stadium here o Saturday. RUFC controlled the midfield and had the better share of the possession for the major part of the first half, with wingers Pauliankhum and C. Lalchungnunga creating problems for the Bodoland defence.
However, the hosts’ backline, led by Didwm Hazowary, Rakesh Pradhan and Nigerian Anyichie Echezona denied clear chances to the opponents. Bodoland could not make much inroads going forward but created some chances in the closing stages of the first half. Ansumana Kromah found space behind the defence and had to just beat the RUFC keeper, Sachin Jha, but the Liberian shot wide. Arjun Mardi then came close to scoring twice for the home side when his right-footed curler whisked past the post and moments later, his left-footed shot hit the woodwork.
RUFC started the second half with the same intensity as they did in the first half and found the breakthrough soon, with Pauliankhum finding the net in the 47th minute. Lalchungnunga, who is on loan from Hyderabad FC, released Richardson Denzel through the right wing and the Ghanaian’s cross was tapped into the far post by Pauliankhum.