Minerva Academy FC took on Army Green in an all important fixture today at Harbakash Stadium, Delhi. The crucial clash saw Minerva Academy FC coming in with 6 changes again, goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh faced with a sudden illness made way for 16 year old rookie Goalkeeper Shamsher Singh, Liberian Korhena Boakai was rested for Jarmanjit Singh who came back from suspension. The midfield too saw a couple of changes as Clifford Miranda who sufferd a concussion and head injury in the last match was replaced by young Girik Khosla. In the midfield, former Dempo SC man Steven Fernandes and 15 year old sensation Jackson Singh were rested in favour of Amandeep Singh and former Churchill man Jaison Vales. The three pronged Minervan attack comprised of Girik Khosla, Guam National Team player Marcus Lopez and Victor Amobi who tried to compensate for Manandeep Singh who was serving his suspension from picking up a red card in the last match. Army Green who had 4 points from their two matches played, came into the game having won their last match against I-league giants Sporting Club de Goa. Army green were eager for a win to secure their spot in the semi finals.
A Determined Minerva Academy FC side came into action from the very first minute with Nigerian Victor Amboi’s incredible run through the flanks and a beautiful cross for his teammate Jarmajit only to see his header go wide. The next following few minutes brought in a few very good moves from Minervan players but all attempts at the goal were either off target or saved by the keeper who stayed. Minerva however did not loose hope and tried their best to score but all efforts were in vain. 15 Minutes into the game and Army Green now seemed to be settling in, opening up the Midfield and using its flanks very efficiently. Minerva’s Defence however didn’t entertain much of Army Greens moves until at the 22 minute when a wrong pass by Minervan midfielder Amandeep Singh at the centre saw Army Green’s midfield making the best of it with a counter attack and scoring their first goal. Minervans looked undeterred and again started afresh with flooding the Army Green’s defence with numerous counter attacks and some fine footwork from Strikers Marcus Lopez and Girik Khosla however all efforts through the flanks from Victor Amboi and Akashdeep Singh were flicked out by the Army Green Defenders who were getting away with lot of rough play. In the meanwhile Girik Kohsla was booked for a 50-50 attempt with the Army Green goalkeeper and was shown a yellow card. The next couple of moments saw Army Green making some dangerous moves in the centre of the park but a fierce Minervan Defence made it for them difficult. However again in the 35th Minute, Minerva’s young keeper, Shamsher Singh who was playing his first game of the tournament, brought down a charging army striker, which made the referee point to the spot. Army Green converted the penalty making the score 2-0 in Army’s favour. Minervans once again found themselves under pressure but kept raiding the opposition half till the half time whistle.
A two goal lead at the half mark made Army Greens very confident and gave them a upper hand but Minervans were very there from some serious business and didnt let the score line discourage them when the returned from the break. They got straight to work and fought back hard. Striker Girik Khosla missed an easy chance, Marcus and Jaison Vales both took dangerous long range shots at the goal. Some beautiful moves from Minervan Midfield anchored by experienced goan Jaison Vales caused problems keeping the Army Green Defenders busy. A ray of hope came in 48th Minute when Jaison Vales was brought down on top of the box and free kick was awarded to Minerva. Marcus Lopez, Guam International stepped up to take the free kick and did his job well by beating the wall and sending a thundering shot into the far left corner of the goalpost giving the Army Green’s goalkeeper absolutely no chance to save it.
A determined Minervan side then made a number of good attacks to equalise the score but a rough defending by Army Green saw minerva making nothing out of it. In the 75th minute, the ball was released beautifully by Jaison Vales to Victor Amobi who rushed into the box for a great opportunity only to be brought down by the Army keeper. This time the referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. Guam international Marcus stepped up to do the honours and indeed he did his job very well, drawing the scores at 2-2. The next ten minutes saw the introduction of Ivory Coast striker Lago Bei who came on for Marcus Lopez. His fresh legs and fantastic play gave Minerva numerous more chances before the final whistle. The Minervans squandered many corners and failed to score the winner while Army started deploying time wasting tactics to slow down the game. Despite long stoppages during the play, only 2 minutes of extra time were added and Minerva could not score the winner and failed to get the full three points they were after. The lads form chandigarh had to settle for a Draw 2-2.