I-League: Minerva Punjab FC regain top spot after 3-2 win over Shillong Lajong
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I-League: Minerva Punjab FC regain top spot after 3-2 win over Shillong Lajong

Gagandeep Bali scored twice as Minerva Punjab FC defeat Shilong Lajong to claim top spot in the I-League table on Wednesday.

football Updated: Feb 07, 2018 20:01 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Panchkula
I-League,Minerva Punjab FC,Shilong Lajong
Gagandeep Bali celebrates after scoring for Minerva Punjab FC against Shillong Lajong in the I-League on Wednesday.(AIFF)

A disallowed goal helped Minerva Punjab post a hard-fought 3-2 win over Shillong Lajong and regain the top spot at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Wednesday.

It was tale of two halves with hosts Minerva dominating the first, scoring two goals, while Lajong coming back in the second only to be denied by a questionable decision by referee towards the fag end of the game.

The first goal came early, putting Lajong on the back foot.

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Cote d’Ivoire defender Guy Eric Dano found the net in the sixth minute. Lajong looking for the equaliser pressed men forward which meant the stretched defence was left exposed to counter attacks.

That’s exactly what happened in the last minute of the first half when a long pass found Chencho Gyeltsen with some space to utilise. The Bhutanese striker wasn’t going to let the chance go waste and as the defenders scrambled to fill the space, Gyeltsen managed to cut the ball back and Gagandeep Bali made no mistake in scoring and doubling Minerva’s advantage.

With 2-0 up, it was Lajong’s turn to take the game to the hosts. Pressing hard, Lajong managed to find the net twice in the space of three minutes.

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David Odafin’s 60th minute strike reduced the margin and Laurence Doe then equalised in the 63rd minute as Lajong started dictating terms.

Bali then once again put Minerva ahead with a strike from the edge of the box in the 80th minute. For Lajong, a draw was within their grasp as Abdoulaye Koffi thought he had scored only for it to be ruled out.

After the match, Lajong coach Bobby Nongbet minced no words when he said that the poor decision cost his side a point. “Two first-half goals did put us on the back foot but we did well in the second half. Koffi probably made a slight contact with the keeper but the goal should not have been disallowed,” Nongbet said.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 17:32 IST