Northern giants Minerva Punjab FC clinch their first ever Punjab State Super Football League title defeating heavyweights Punjab Police in the highly contested clash played at the Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College Grounds, Mahilpur.
Punjab Police known as one of the most successful teams in the Punjab State Super Football League qualified undefeated, leading the 8 team table that saw them notch up 5 wins out of 7 games played and ending 2 games in a stalement.
Whereas, Minerva Punjab FC too qualified undefeated and Runners Up in the Table with 15 points that saw them win 4 games out of 7 played and ending 3 in a stalement.
In the Semi-Finals 1 – Punjab Police defeated Border Security Force (BSF) with a 2-0 margin, whereas
In the Semi-Finals 2 – Minerva Punjab FC defeated Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with a 1-0 margin.
The much-awaited Finals saw Minerva Punjab FC line up with, Bhaskar under the woodwork as Deepak Devrani, Arshpreet, Akashdeep and Souvik formed the backline. Aakash Sangwan and Prabhjot were deployed on the wings whereas Amandeep and William Opoku filled the void in the middle of the park. CS Sabeeth and Njoku completed the line-up upfront.
The first half saw Minerva Punjab FC pile up with a lot of pressure on their opponents at the whistle GOO!!, A chance came in early in the 7th minute as Aakash’s pinpoint cross was headed by Njoku but missed the target by inches, The Policemen soon re-grouped and created another chance to test Minerva custodian Bhaskar but didn’t manage to get past him. Warrior’s Prabhjot triggered another chance in the 21st minute when he curled one in from the right which is met by Aakash who heads it just wide of the post! However the closest chances of the game came in the 40th minute when Sabeeth finds himself in some space pulling the keeper off his line, squares it across closer to the goal for Njoku but the ball was cleared off the line buy the Policemen’s defender, soon after in the 44th minute Njoku holds the ball long enough to earn some support in the form of Prabhjot who fires a shot just over the bar followed by 45th minute try by Sabeeth who lifted it over the keeper but the keeper somehow manages to get his finger to it.
Souvik Das finally broke the deadlock in the injury time of the First Half as his powerful attempt from the right flank beats the keeper, off the post as it goes into the net to give the Blues much deserved the lead.
Soon into the Second Half, Punjab Police pressurized Minervan defence with a couple of attacks, but the Warriors managed to hold the Policemen on various occasions denying them the needed equaliser. The next couple of minutes saw gaffer Sachin Badadhe make some changes as Prabhjot made way for fresh footed Dilliram Sanyasi and Ghanian William Opoku was rested in favour of Japanese Yu Kuboki midway into the second half. The move paid dividends in the early minutes as speedy Dilliram continues to make his presence count as he comes off the bench to score another crucial goal yet again that saw Yu Kuboki draft in a sublime ball of the Policemen’s custodian and Dilliram being in the right place at the right time to tap if into the back of the net in style making it 2-0. Former Mohammedan Sporting man Manandeep Singh was brought in at the very next minute to replace CS Sabeeth upfront. Punjab Police finds a consolation late into the 85th minute of the game thru a deflection that saw Bhaskar dive on the wrong side of the woodwork.
The final 3 minutes added time saw Minervans hunting for their 3rd goal to seal the deal at Mahilpur where over 600 spectators turned up for the clash as Manandeep’s long shot too went just over the bar bringing the Blue’s dugout on their feet. The Game ended with Minerva Punjab FC being victorious.
Full Time : Minerva Punjab FC 2-1 Punjab Police