It proved hard for the Highlanders to prove their mettle as they were trounced by Minerva Punjab FC 2-0 at their home ground in Hero I-League at Tau Devi Lal Stadium at Panchkula on Monday. Akash Sangwan and Bazie Armand were the triumph card for the match.
Home team dominated the early moments of the game. Chencho lofted an cheeky ball to Bali who was near the penalty box but the ball was much in momentum for Bali to collect as the possibility vanished at 7th minute. The Bhutanese attacker was involved in another chance at 11th minute when an pass from Amandeep was well gathered by him before he went pass three defenders and taking an shot which went over the left bar to the horizon.
William got a chance in 27th minute of game when an inch perfect cross pass from Kamalpreet was shot just inches away from the woodwork and the scoreline remained stagnant.
Aizawl had a chance to score and silence home crowd when in 37th minute Lalthathanga Khawlhring’s cross was taken down perfectly by Lalkhawpuimawia but his shot was just outside the frame.
Minutes later, Chencho leapt in the air outstretching himself for the header which was collected by the Aizawl custodian Avilash Paul. William had an one-on-one opportunity against Avilash Paul but he missed too and failed to showcase his talent.
Referee blow the whistle at the end of first half period and the players went off field with scoreline at 0-0.
6 minutes passed half time when Minerva Punjab FC got their break-through when the game was being setup by Opoku, he passed the ball to Chencho, Chencho delivered a nice ball into the box to the youngster Akash Sangwan and the youngster made no mistake in scoring his first goal of league.
Aizawl almost scored an goal for Minerva Punjab FC when an long ball from Sukhdev found the vulnerability in Aizawl’s defence.
In 75th minute, Ionescu came close to scoring an equaliser for Aizawl FC when he made his way into the box before his infirm shoot was denied by the Minerva Punjab’s defender.
At 85th minute of the game, Minerva’s custodian brilliantly saved the ball from getting netted. He made sure to not allow the opposition any brief chance of scoring and kept them at bay.
Khogen Singh then brought in Armand Bazie only two minutes before the end of regulation time as he proved to the win card for him.
In 95th minute, Armand Bazie converted an ball from William Opoku which bulged into the net as the keeper Avilash Paul kept watching.
This win helped Minerva Punjab FC to leapfrog Neroca FC and Kingfisher East Bengal to be at top spot of the league. They are now having 32 points from 16 matches, one less from Neroca FC. Minerva Punjab would be facing Chennai City FC on 2nd March, 2018.
Defending champion Aizawl FC are now on the sixth spot with 21 points from 17 matches. They are having last match against Gokulam Kerala on 2nd March,2018.