MINERVA PUNJAB FC COLTS STORM INTO FINAL ROUND OF U-18 I-LEAGUE AS CHAMPIONS OF REST OF INDIA ZONE C
Minerva Punjab FC U-18 Team defeated Real Kashmir FC in the last league stage match of the ongoing U-18 I-League Rest of India Zone- C at Ambedkar Stadium New Delhi today.
With the win, Minerva Punjab FC stormed into the final round of the U-18 to be held at Kolkata from the 28th of Aprill, 2017 to 3rd May 2017 followed by the semi final and final on the 5th and 7th May respectively as the champions of the Rest of India Zone C having defeated all teams in their group including J&K Bank, Lone Star Kashmir FC and Real Kashmir FC.
The match started off with great intent shown by the Minervans from the first whistle. The Minerva boys flooded the opposition with a plethora of attacks. In the 9th minute, a rasping shot by Bedashwor Singh of Minerva Punjab FC was ably kept out by the Real Kashmir Keeper. But it was the Real Kashmir Boys who drew first blood capitalising on a counter attack and keepers misjudgement in the 15th minute, making the score 1-0 in their favour against the run of play. Having taken the lead the Real Kashmir boys started defending numbers making it very difficult for the Minervans to break through. But persistence paid off in the 41st minute when Bodo combined beautifully with winger Ajaruddin Shah to equalise for Minerva. Feeding off the new found energy in the team, Anirudh Thapa made a brilliant run into the box with an assist fro Krishna Pandit and put Minerva in the lead few minutes later in 44th minute. The score read 2-1 in favour of the Minerva boys at the lemon break.
In the second half, the match looked far from over as Real Kashmir Boys came out with renewed vigour after a tough talk from their gaffer and started attacking in numbers hoping for an equaliser. Both teams knew that whoever won the match would qualify for the final round of the U-18 I-League, Real Kashmir tried hard to get the equaliser but their hope were smashed by goal machine Baoringdao Bodo who got his second goal of the match in the 57th minute. With the Minervans 3-1 up and in the lead, Real Kashmir boys fought valiantly but could not make a come back into the game, given some resolute defending by the Minerva boys, especially Thoiba and Bhagirat.
With this win, Minerva qualified for the final round at the top of the group table. The will head out to Kolkata for the final round commencing on the 28th of April.