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Minerva Punjab FC beat Aizawl FC, climb to top of I-League table

Goals from Akash Sangwan and Bazie Armand helped Minerva Punjab FC beat Aizawl FC 2-0 in their I-League match.

football Updated: Feb 26, 2018 18:55 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Panchkula (Chandigarh)
I-League,Minerva Punjab FC,Aizawl FC
Goalmouth action during the Minerva Punjab FC vs Aizawl FC match at Panchkula, Chandigarh, on Monday.(AIFF)

Second half goals by Akash Sangwan (71st) and Bazie Armand (90+6) helped Minerva Punjab FC beat defending champions Aizawl FC 2-0 and jump to the top of the I-League table on Monday.

Minerva had all the pressure going into the match with the title at stake. The poor run at home had already seen them slip to third behind East Bengal and Neroca FC.

Minerva made one change with Amandeep replacing Randeep Singh in the midfield. With Chencho Gyeltshen as one striker upfront, the hosts tried making most of the weakened Aizawl.

Chenho kept the Aizawl defence on tenterhooks with his darting runs as Minerva pressed forward. He came close in the 11th minute after managing to shake off three defenders but his shot went wide.

Then, in the 26th minute, Minerva once again had a chance with Kamalpreet’s cross finding William Opoku. But the header went wide despite Opoku having some space.

The visitors did well to soak up the pressure and went into the break tied 0-0.

Minerva finally went ahead in the 71st minute with Sangwan nodding in a ball off a rebound. The local lad managed to shake off his marker but his first attempt was weak and was blocked by Avilash Paul. But Sangwan was alert enough to head the resultant rebound despite being off balance.

“I have played on this ground. It’s a great feeling to have scored. Our team needed a win and I managed to score,” Sangwan,22, said after the match.

The goal sent a cheer around the home side dugout and Minerva began playing more freely. With Aizawl chasing the equalizer, Minerva managed one more goal to put matter beyond Aizawl’s reach. Kamalpreet free-kick over the defensive line was tapped into an open goal by Bazie in the sixth minute of added time.

“We have had a tough schedule playing back-to-back matches the players are fatigued. None the less Minerva played well and after the goal the game opened up. Still we managed to hold them off in the first half,” said Aizawl coach Santosh Kashyap.

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 18:53 IST