Min­erva Pun­jab FC regis­ter first vic­tory

The Free Press Journal - - FPJ SPORTS -

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Min­erva Pun­jab FC reg­is­tered their first win of the 12th I-League cam­paign, over­com­ing Aizawl FC 2-1 at the Ra­jiv Gandhi Sta­dium on Satur­day.

Two head­ers off two cor­ners by cen­tre-back Lancine Toure en­sured that de­spite a late penalty con­ver­sion by Leonce Dodoz for the home side, the ‘War­riors’ from Pun­jab logged a full three points from a spir­ited en­counter. The cham­pi­ons were bol­stered by the in­duc­tion of Dona­tus Edafe and Bala Ali­has­san Dahir.

Aizawl coach Gift Raikhan started Ivo­rian Dodoz and David Lal­rin­muana on the day while Min­erva brought in Bala Dahir and Edafe, re­plac­ing them with Akash Sang­wan and Makan Chothe as well as Moin­ud­din in place of Ivo­rian Alexan­dre who had started in the last game.

Dodoz cut in beau­ti­fully in­side the box from the left and his ef­fort brought about a save from Bhaskar Roy in the Min­erva goal, who padded it away for a cor­ner.

Min­erva got a break when Toure's header off a Wil­liam Opoku cor­ner gave Min­erva their first goal of the cam­paign and the lead.

The goal shifted the mo­men­tum to­wards Min­erva, and they put up a splen­did dis­play of fast counter at­tacks and in­no­va­tive set pieces. Aizawl too had their chances and in the 24th minute, Dodoz found Bek­tur in­side the box with a won­der­ful pass and the Kyr­gys­tani turned his de­fender and was ready to pull the trig­ger, but Arshdeep’s slide, left Bek­tur de­nied.

As the game seemed to be me­an­der­ing to­wards a Min­erva vic­tory, the home team got a penalty to pull one back.

A long ranger from dis­tance found the out­stretched hand of Akashdeep Singh in­side the box and ref­eree Rak­tim Saha had no hes­i­ta­tion in point­ing to the spot. Dodoz con­verted de­spite Bhaskar guess­ing the right away.

Aizawl did try to press for the equaliser but Min­erva, who had in be­tween bol­stered their de­fence by bring­ing in Deepak Devrani for Dahir, held out for a de­serv­ing first win.

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