Tag: Minerva Punjab FC

I-League 2018/19: Mohun Bagan seek revival under new coach

KOLKATA: Mohun Bagan will seek a revival of fortunes under new coach Khalid Jamil when they take on Minerva Punjab in a must win 2018/19 I-League fixture on Wednesday at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, kick-off 2 pm.

Khalid Jmail takes over the reins of the team after previous incumbent Sankarlal Chakraborty put in his papers following successive defeats against Neroca FC and Real Kashmir which leaves them on sixth place in league standings with 15 points from 11 matches, nine points shy of leaders Chennai City FC.

Formerly at bitter rivals East Bengal where he failed to impress, Khalid has a big job on his hands but he is confident the players available will do the task to revive the team.

“It is a big challenge for me and I am aware but only unity at the moment will help us. I will do my best as the coach to make sure the team returns to where it belongs. I believe the players available are capable of accomplishing the task.” Khalid said after conducting his first training session on Tuesday.

“Players are fully aware that what happened in last few matches is simply unacceptable for a club of Mohun Bagan’s magnitude and stature. The first thing I need to do with the players is to reinforce them mentally, to make them mentally stronger. Once the head is okay, then everything else will take care of itself. The important thing is injecting them with elements of self-belief and self-confidence,”  he added.

Although Khalid has mentioned that it’s literally impossible to make any drastic changes in just 24 hours but judging by Mohun Bagan’s training session on Tuesday, the former India international has definitely succeeded to inject positive energy in the side that has lost the fighting spirit and will to win.

“We need to prepare for the race till the end because the difference between top and bottom teams is not that big. Definitely it’s difficult but not impossible we need to give our best shot,” Khalid concluded.

Mohun Bagan will be without defender Lalchhawnkima (Kim Kima), who is injured. He join long term absentee Sukhdev Singh.

I-League 2018/19: Anthony Wolfe brace propels Churchill Brothers to third

Vasco Da Gama, Goa, Saturday, January 5, 2019: Churchill Brothers made it two wins in a row after Anthony Wolfe scored a second-half brace at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco Da Gama, to help the Red Machines climb to the third spot on the 2018/19 I-League table on Saturday.

Wolfe was adjudged Hero of the Match for his efforts from the bench.

With this win, Churchill have posted 19 points on the board, and are one ahead of Real Kashmir. However, the Red Machines have played one game extra, and the side from the northern-most state of India can reclaim the third spot if they can notch up three points against Mohun Bagan at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.

Meanwhile, defending Champions Minerva Punjab remained on the seventh position, with 13 points from 11 games (3 wins, 4 draws, 4 losses).

The match got off on a rather drab note, with both the sides choosing not to reveal all their cards right away. However, Minerva gaffer Paul Munster changed the tempo of the game by bringing on Japanese attacker Yu Koboki in place of his compatriot Hitova Ayemi on the 35th minute.

Koboki immediately looked to impact the game, as he initiated a couple of quick attacks towards the fag end of the first half. On the 44th minute, he was laid-off by midfielder Akash Sangwan inside the box but was crowded out, before Churchill keeper James Kithan collected the ball.

A couple of minutes later, the Japanese attacker again combined with William Opoku, but Koboki was flagged offside.

Changing over to the second half, Churchill boss Petre Gigiu gave it 10 minutes, before bringing on his super-sub Anthony Wolfe. The Trinidadian forward wasted no time and put the Red Machines ahead on the 61st minute.

The 35-year-old put Churchill’s three points beyond doubt with just six minutes of regulation time left on the clock, when he slotted a penalty to the left of Minerva keeper Bhaskar Roy.

After a great start to the season, Gigiu’s side had suffered somewhat of a slump, when they dropped six points in four matches. However, the Red Machines seem to have bounced back with two wins on the trot, and will now be raring to go against Gokulam in their next match.

Meanwhile, its dark days for Minerva, as they have picked up only two points in their last four matches. Although the defending champions are just three points from the top half of the table, they are also slipping dangerously close to the drop zone.

I-League 2018/19: Mohun Bagan ride Henry Kisekka strike to down Minerva

Chandigarh, December 19, 2018: Kolkata giants and former champions Mohun Bagan rode on a 79th minute classy strike by Henry Kisekka to put get three points against defending champions Minerva Punjab FC at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula.

The ‘Green and Maroon’ brigade displayed amazing resilience to put shrugg off a defeat just 70 hours back to arch rivals East Bengal, to dominate proceedings and pull off an important away win.

The win moves them up to sixth on the table with 12 points from eight games, while Minerva are now on seventh with the same number of points from nine games played.

The champions made a couple of changes to their starting line-up bringing in Arshdeep under the bar in place of Bhaskar Roy who had played their last game against Chennai City. Thoiba Singh also sat out in a midfield swap with Jagpreet.

Mohun Bagan brought in Gurjinder at centre-back to replace Nigerian Eze Kinglsey who was sent off in the last game against East Bengal.

The first half was scratchy at best but Bagan were clearly in the ascendency with Japanese Yuta Kinowaki in the defensive midfield position and Ugandan forward Henry Kisekka in particular, having an excellent first 45 minutes. Yuta intercepted most of the second balls in his half and Kisekka, playing from the left, was busy penetrative and creating most of the chances.

Cameroonian striker Dipanda Dicka hit the Minerva upright as early as the second minute of the game after he cut in between two defenders inside the box to stab the ball past Arshdeep. Dicka did manage to find the net as well after a lovely give-and-go with Kisekka, which saw him beat Arshdeep. But the Ugandan had already been called out by the linesman for offside.

Five minutes before the half-time whistle Egyptian medio Omar El Hussieny hit the underside of the bar from a wonderfully taken free-kick, but the ball bounced off the line to be cleared by the Minerva defence. In between, both Kisekka and Dicka had muffed up at least three chances between them.

Minerva did not have a single shot on goal in the first half.

Bagan began the second half just as they had in the first. Omar was beginning to have more impact on the game and everytime the ball went to Kisekka, he looked threatening.

But it was Dicka again with the early chance, just two minutes into the half when a wonderfully weighted cross from the right by Arijit Bagui presented an opportunity of a free-header but the Cameroonian failed to connect.

Both coaches rang in the changes. Minerva’s Paul Munster introduced fresh and young legs in Makan Winkle Chothe and Moinuddin Khan in place of Yu Kuboki and Jagpreet Singh for a final push to snatch a winner but could not make much headway.

Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty went for Shekh Faiaz in place of Azharuddin Mallick, just as he had done in the last game.

It was in the 79th minute that Bagan and Kisekka were finally rewarded for their persistence. Omar threaded in a peach of a through ball, releasing Kisekka inside the Minerva box on the left. To the Ugandan’s credit, he drew his marker further away from the goal and then unleashed a thunderous left-footer from a very narrow angle to beat Arshdeep and bulge the net.

It was a goal worthy of a winner and Bagan held on till the last four minutes of additional time to register a win after three games.

I-League 2018/19: Minerva Punjab take on Mohun Bagan in a battle of strugglers

Chandigarh, December 18, 2018: Defending Champions Minerva Punjab take on former champions Mohun Bagan on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkhula.

The 44th match of the 2018/19 I-League is scheduled for a 2 PM start. Both teams have found the going tough in the current season, with the champions finding goals hard to come by while Mohun Bagan are failing to cross the line in their matches.

As a result, Minerva find themselves in the fifth place on the points table with 12 points from eight games while the Kolkata giants have played a game less for their nine points and are in the eighth position.

The champions have bolstered their squad along the way with Irish coach Paul Munster obviously looking to plug gaps. They have brought in Nigerians Bala Dahir and Donatus Edafe as well as Ivorian Kouassi Kouame to strengthen their midfield and attack.

Japanese striker Yu Kuboki also started his first game in Minerva’s previous encounter against Chennai City after not featuring in any of their first seven games due to injury. Colombian defender Jorge Ivan Caicedo Rodriguez is their latest signing to beef up the defence.

Minerva clearly start favourites given they have notched up two wins in their last three games while Bagan have lost two and drawn one going into Thursday’s game.

Paul Munster seemed to suggest just that on the eve of the match. He said, “This game is massive. In our last game we got a clean sheet. This is where we have to take our chances. In our last game we got many chances but now we have to convert them.

“We can’t say anything about the result. We just have to look forward. This game is all about the better team who will win the game. It’s a massive game for us,” said Munster.

Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, have been having injury woes with star winger Sony Norde of Haiti missing out on the ‘Kolkata Derby’ loss against arch-rivals East Bengal in the last game. Talented young winger Pintu Mahata has also been sidelined due to injury and so has Sukhdev Singh, the former Minerva defender whose recruitment was cleared recently.

Coach Sankarlal betrayed signs of both desperation and frustration on the match-day eve, when he said, “We won’t say that we are not playing good. We are playing well but not being able to gather three points. We are trying our level best. Yes, we have lost two-three but the team mentally and physically are active,” said Sankarlal.

“When the team travels there is a mental impact. We have come here to collect three points and we have to get three points anyhow. Mohun Bagan is always charged up for new challenges. Kudos to Minerva for playing great football in the last few matches,” he said.

Minerva have conceded just five but also scored just six. Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, have scored nine but conceded 10 and are going to miss their defensive bulwark Eze Kingsley on Thursday, as the Nigerian was sent off for a second bookable offence against arch-rivals East Bengal on Sunday. Their only silver lining being two–time Hero I-League top scorer Dipanda Dicka being in form with four goals so far including a super strike against the Red and Golds.

It will be the Cameroonian Dicka against the miserly Minerva defence on one hand, while a wobbly Mohun Bagan defence will try to keep a bolstered Minerva attack at bay. All in all, an absorbing encounter on the cards.

I-League 2018/19: Minerva take aim at Arrows

Chandigarh, November 30, 2018: It has not been an ideal start to the I-League for defending champions Minerva FC, having won just one game in five to be placed eighth on the table. However, come Saturday, December 1, 2018, they will look to get back to winning ways against the young Indian Arrows side. The game kicks off at 2 PM IST at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula and what would enthuse the champions, even more, would be the fact that they would be playing at home after exactly a month.

The “Warriors” from Punjab have won both the encounters between the two sides so far and that would give new coach for the season, Irishman Paul Munster, a sense of ease. The Arrows coach Floyd Pinto, on the other hand, would be aware that his young side albeit have looked the part but would need to deliver results sooner rather than later if they want to finish anywhere near the top of the league table.

Munster would be happy with the fact that Ghanaian striker William Opoku, a key player for his side having scored five times for Minerva last season, finally opened his scoring account in the last game against Shillong. He would also be happy with the form of Nigerian midfielder Philip Njoku who has been playing with a lot of purpose and penetration in the last two games, as well as the fact that his team while playing the entire second half against Shillong with 10 men, never looked like doing so.

“We are happy to come back home. We have taken the positives from our last game. Our first half was really tough, but even after going down to 10 men, our boys recovered and scored. In my opinion, it’s a very big result, but now, it’s a must-win game for us tomorrow at home,” said Paul Munster, Head Coach, Minerva Punjab FC ahead of the game tomorrow.

“We are creating lots of chances. It’s just the strikers who should believe in themselves and converting those chances. We just have to work harder”, he added.

Minerva would want to have a re-look at their defensive tactics though, as besides conceding five goals, way too many for their style of play generally, they have been caught out on the break too many times.

For Floyd Pinto’s young guns it seems to be getting more difficult with every game. Against Kashmir, in the last game, they were outdone simply by the size of some of their opponents which included the 6ft 7 inches Krizo and similar bigger adversaries like Mason Robertson and Loveday Okechukwu.

It’s not that they have not been moving the ball well or have shown an intention to score, but at times the gulf in professional experience becomes too much to overcome. Also, being a developmental side, it is prone to too many changes and experiments and they never seem to be having a settled eleven or players in set positions.

“It’s always motivational to play against the defending champions. The boys are motivated and we are looking forward to a great game of football. You also need to understand that every season is different. We have changed our style a bit. We were dominating the possession against Real Kashmir and although we didn’t get a win there, I’m happy with the game,” said Floyd Pinto, Head Coach, Indian Arrows.

He further said, “We go to every game to win. The results don’t always reflect the game. They have shown their character in the last match. They have the agility, the zeal and we have to cautious throughout.”

Given the firepower Minerva have at their disposal, they look odds-n favourites for this one. Arrows, on the other hand, will be looking for the kind of upset, which they pulled off three times last season against fancied teams as well as the stunning win they scored against a talented Shillong side earlier in the league this season.

Minerva Punjab interested in Ghanaian striker

KOLKATA: IndiaFooty has learnt that Minerva Punjab FC have placed a mouth-watering offer for Mohammedan Sporting Club front-man Philip Adjah Tetteh.

Minerva Punjab are the current I-League champions and looking to put together a strong squad for their title defence.

The Ghanaian has become the target of number of clubs who were impressed by his display in the recently concluded 2018/19 Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ and have made enquiries about his availability, with his contract at Mohammedan Sporting Club set to expire at the end of this month.

According to an unnamed source, Minerva Punjab have approached Adjah’s agent to enquire about his availability.

“Minerva has made a big offer to Adjah, compared to what he is getting in Mohammedan,” said the source. “Everything now is left to the player to make a decision.”

The 20-year-old joined Mohammedan Sporting Club midway through the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’, where he since went on to steal the hearts of the Black Panthers faithful, having netted four goals in six appearances.

Meanwhile, Mohammedan Sporting Club is also pushing hard for Adjah to extend his stay with the club.

Minerva Punjab interested in Mohammedan defender

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club defender Lancine Toure has attracted interest from the reigning I-League champions, Minerva Punjab, who are believed to be keen on adding him to their roster for the forthcoming campaign.

The Chandigarh-based side is said to have been impressed with what they saw in the centre-back during the ongoing Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’.

The news of Minerva’s interest in the Ivorian player has been confirmed to the IndiaFooty by a source close to Mohammedan Sporting Club, who added that Minerva Punjab is keen to sign the 23-year-old.

“Minerva Punjab is interested in Lancine Toure. The club was impressed with what they saw from the player in the ongoing Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’,” said the source.

Toure’s contract with Mohammedan Sporting Club is set to expire on September 30, 2018.

Minerva Punjab file Criminal Defamation Suite against AIFF

CHANDIGARH: Minerva Punjab have filed a Criminal Defamation suite against the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Disciplinary Committee Chairman Usha Nath Banerjee and other AIFF officials in the court of Gitanjali Goel HMIC Chandigarh which is pending for 20th July 2018. In addition to the earlier confirmed Civil Defamation Suit filed on 30th May, 2018 claiming damages for defamation to the tune of Rs. 1 Crore in the court of Sh. Akashdeep Mahajan (CJM) Chandigarh.

Henna Singh Director of Minerva Punjab FC said, “We have not taken the grave accusations levelled against club owner and director Ranjit Bajaj lightly. The language used by the Disciplinary Committee Chairman Usha Nath Bannerjee and others in the order passed against Ranjit Bajaj dated 30.05.2018 is sensational and defamatory, without any real merit or proof. I am sure that any Judge will be able to recognize the motive to malign us, we have faith in the judicial system and are confident that in the end the truth will triumph.”

I-League 2017/18: Minerva edge past Lajong to regain top spot

Shillong: Minerva Punjab defeated Shillong Lajong by 3-2 in the I-League encounter today held at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Chandigarh.

Guy Dano opened the account while Bali Gagandeep bagged a brace for the host, Minerva Punjab. The Reds came back fighting in the second half with Goals from Daniel Odafin and Laurence Doe.

Minerva Punjab took the early lead in the 5th minute when Guy Dano took a half-volley shot inside the box to beat the Lajong keeper, Phurba Lachenpa. Lajong were struggling in the first half to break forward and lacked combination play from Midfield to Forwards. Minerva dominated the first half and had the majority of possession. They created a few good opportunities in the opponents half but could not capitalise on them. Eventually, Bali Gagandeep doubled the lead for Minerva in the extra time of first half after an assist by Chencho.

Lajong replaced Lalrohlua with Alen Deory at the start of the second half and the change made an impact as the Reds were attacking well right from the start of the second half.

Koffi had a chance in the 47th minute but somehow squandered the opportunity. The persistence paid off for the Reds in the 60th minute when Daniel Odafin picked the ball outside the box after a defensive clearance and shot it past the defenders and the keeper, thereby scoring his first I-League goal.

In the 64th minute, Laurence Doe levelled the scoreline also scoring his first I-League goal in today’s goal with a header into the back of the net from Samuel Lalmuanpuia’s free kick. The visiting team found their fighting spirit and played much better in comparison to the first half. Minerva was stunned by those two goals but worked hard to regain their lead. In the 79th minute, Laurence Doe had to be replaced by Kynsai Khongsit after sustaining an injury and his absence was immediately felt as Minerva scored in the 80th minute through Bali Gagandeep.

Lajong, however, continued to fight back and could have equalized again in the 84th minute as Samuel’s free-kick was met by Aiban, but the latter’s header went over the bar.

Controversy emerged in the 90th minute when Samuel Lalmuanpuia dribbled past defenders and managed to lob it in front of goal, which was met by Koffi and headed into the net, but the referee denied the goal declaring Koffi had fouled the Goalkeeper. Lajong players and the bench were unhappy with the decision as it seemed that Koffi never touched or made any contact with the Minerva Goalkeeper and the goal should have stood. Koffi had another chance to equalize in the 95th minute but his header went just wide. Unlucky for the Reds, the matched ended 3-2 in favour of Minerva Punjab.

Lajong will now travel to Coimbatore for a crucial encounter against Chennai City FC on the 11th of February 2018.

I-League 2017/18: East Bengal lose further ground in title race

KOLKATA: East Bengal’s woes continued following their 2-2 draw at home to title chasers Minerva Punjab in an I-League 2017/18 clash on Tuesday.

This despite their brave performance which saw them take the game to their Chandigarh-based opponents throughout the 90 minutes at Barasat Stadium.

Minerva scored twice through Sukhdev Singh (20′) and Chencho Gyeltshen (33′) in the first half itself. Joby Justin started a comeback by scoring in the 59th minute as second-half substitute Brandon Vanlalremdika equalised in the 88th minute.

Khalid Jamil made seven changes in the starting XI after the Kolkata derby defeat to Mohun Bagan having introduced goalkeeper Ubaid CK, fullbacks Mehtab Singh, Deepak Kumar, midfielders Cavin Lobo, Armand Bazie, Laldanmawia Ralte and striker Jobby Justin in place of Luis Barreto, Lalramchullova, Arnab Mondal, Mohamed Rafique, Prakash Sarkar. While Willis Plaza made the move to pastures new, Mahmoud Al Amna was injured and new signing Ansumana Kromah started on the bench.

Minerva Punjab FC had only two alterations from their win away at Neroca FC three days ago. Deepak Devrani replaced Abhishek Ambekar at the left fullback as Souvik Das was put in the midfield for Altamash Sayed.

Kamalpreet Singh’s long ball towards the box was shot in by Sukhdev Singh but Ubaid managed to save it but the defender hit the rebound easily as Salam Ranjan Singh failed to clear the loose ball to give the Warriors the perfect start to the game.

Post the half-hour mark, Bhutanese international Chencho Gyeltshen took advantage of Eduardo Ferreira and Armand Bazie clashing against each other in an attempt to intercept Gagandeep Bali’s square pass. Chencho clenched the ball and sprinted right into the box to shoot past Ubaid who had already let in two in the first 33 minutes of his professional career.

Ansumana Kromah made his East Bengal debut when he replaced young Mehtab Singh in the 41st minute and helped Dudu Omagbemi, pushing the ball in front of the Nigerian with only the keeper to beat but the veteran striker failed to make any connection.

Katsumi Yusa was brought down by Guy Eric Dano but referee Tejas Nagvenkar did not award the penalty to the home side.

The Japanese playmaker then failed to convert from the 12-yard spot himself as he slammed it towards Kiran Chemjong from a penalty kick won by Laldanmawia Ralte.

He made up by delivering from the corner spot for Jobby Justin to head in a perfect poacher’s goal to initiate the comeback trail as the Kerala-born jumped over Deepak Devrani to bring some cheers to the crowd.

Brandon Vanlalremdika’s introduction spurred East Bengal’s chances as his pace was too much to handle for the Minerva defenders. Debutant Kromah then initiated the move for the equalising goal. He found Ralte whose cross was brought down by Katsumi and the unmarked Brandon latched onto the backpass to slam it right past Chemjong.

However, there was no time left for the Red and Golds to score a third as the point earned in the game takes them one point behind second-placed NEROCA FC. Minerva, on the other hand, are five points clear at the top and have played two games less than second-placed Neroca FC who are slated to face Churchill Brothers FC Goa tonight.