Minerva Academy FC U-15 team reached Goa on Thursday evening to carry forward their U-15 Youth League campaign. Having qualified for the the final round after sheer dominance in the Zonal Round, the kids are hungry to make a mark at the National Level.
Twelve teams from various zones have made it to the final round, which are divided into 3 groups of 4 teams each. Group toppers along with the best second team makes it to the semifinals.
Minervan’s are in in Group C, clubbed together with the country’s best youth team, Royal Wahingdoh (Shillong), Ozone FC (Bangalore) and Mumbai FC.
Minerva Academy U-15 boys played their heart out but had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Royal Wahingdoh FC in their opening encounter of the final round, held at Goa- Navelim Ground on 19th April, 2016 at 9M A.
Royal Wahingdoh FC qualified as the champions of the Guwahati- Shillong Group and were also the highest scorers of all the 39 youth teams which participated in the qualifying round of the league scoring 43 goals in the ten matches they played before this.
The match started on high tempo with both teams raiding the opposition half on numerous occasions but failing to find the killer move. But in the 11th minute, Mahesh of Royal Wahingdoh FC took an opportune shot on a bouncing ball from 40 yards which defected off Minerva Academy FC’s Jeckson Singh and sailed over the helpless goalkeeper, Bharat. This was the first goal any team was able to score against Minerva FC since the qualifying stage of the tournament. This came as quite a shock to the Minervans who immediately re-grouped and started looking the more dominant of the two teams. In the 17th minute a beautiful through ball by Givson Singh of Minerva FC collected by Amarjeet Mishra was cooly slotted home tying the score at 1-1. In the 43rd Minute Minerva FCs striker Manvir Singh missed a glorious one on one opportunity with the keeper at his mercy by shooting wide.At half time the teams were drawn at 1-1.
In the second half it was all Minerva which held at-least 70% possession but could not create enough opportunities for its forwards to convert. But in a counter attacking move in the 58th minute Royal Wahingdoh’s No.10 and highest scorer since qualifying round, Rheadolf Nelson beat Minerva Academy’s Left back Narinder with a deft touch and passed the ball parallel hoping to find a team mate but instead found Thoiba Singh of Minerva FC who while trying to clear the beautiful pass stubbed it into his own net giving Royal Wahingdoh a 2-1 lead.
With a goal down and only 30 minutes left on the clock the MAFC boys really started pounding the pressure when MAFC star striker scored his 9th goal in his 5th match of the tournament with a beautiful volley from outside the box which gave the Royal Wahingdoh keeper no chance at all and levelled the score in the 69th minute for his team. With the scores level Minorcans increased the pressure in search for the winner, but Royal Wahingdoh put all 11 men on defence and left no space in their half for MAFC boys to exploit. The match ended in a 2-2 spirited draw.
In the other match of the same group Ozone FC beat Mumbai FC by 4-1 and Minerva now play Ozone FC at 4 pm on 23rd April, 2016. Ozone FC is a Bangalore based football team with the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) as it’s principal partners.
Teams in the U-15 Youth League Final Round are:
Group A : United SC, Aizawl FC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Bengaluru FC
Group B : Pune FC, SAI Guwahati, Salgaocar FC, Mohammedan SC
Group C : Minerva Academy, Ozone FC, Mumbai FC, Royal Wahingdoh
MINERVA ACADEMY FC MATCHES
19th April : Royal Wahingdoh vs Minerva Academy FC
21st April : Ozone FC vs Minerva Academy FC
23rd April : Mumbai FC vs Minerva Academy FC