Minerva Punjab FC created history by becoming the first team from North India in the history of Hero I-League to win the crown jewel of Indian Football. William’s goal was enough to seal the title for Minerva Punjab who beat Churchill Brothers by a solitary goal today. This is a landmark moment in Indian Football where two relegation threatened teams have won back to back I-League titles. Last year it was Aizawl, this year it is Minerva Punjab from Chandigarh.
Churchill Brothers, on the other hand, got relegated after this defeat demotes them to 2nd division.
Minerva Punjab started the first half really well. The attacking trio of Chencho, William and Girik combining really well to put Churchill’s defence in jeopardy. Chencho almost scored the match’s opener in 8th minute when a low Girik Khosla cross wasn’t dealt with properly by Monday which gave Chencho a chance but he couldn’t make full use of it.
Minutes later Akash Sangwan had an opportunity to score from Left but his shot went straight into the Keeper who blocked well. The moment finally came in 16th minute when William converted from point-blank range after a rebound from Girik’s shot which fell right into his feet. William had another exceptional chance in the injury time of 1st half but he couldn’t control his effort and lost possession.
The first half ended with the home side leading 1-0.
The second half started with a flurry of attacks from Churchill Brothers who tried their best to come back in 2nd half but got unlucky on many occasions. In the 49th minute, Akash Sangwan’s pinpoint corner kick met Chencho header but his effort went just wide of the target. Churchill Brothers almost scored in the 51st minute when Britto got a chance from just 6 yards out but his weak effort came hit the keeper.
Ceesay took a long shot in 54th minute but Kiran was there to save comfortably. Monday tried his luck in 59th minute but his wayward short was nowhere near the target. The big chance for Churchill came in 61st minute when Ceesay created space inside box to set himself for a shot but ball just went over the crossbar.
Minerva should have doubled their lead in 64th minute when Kassim played one-two with Chencho but Chencho’s following cross towards Sangwan, who was unmarked, went out for a goal kick.
In 65th minute Britto missed the opportunity of the match so far when he went one on one with the keeper Kiran but Minerva shot-stopper came out quickly to save his side.
In another show of combination play Chencho was brilliantly set up by William in 73rd minute in the box but he decided to cut inside and in doing so lost the ball possession.
Minerva centre back Eric Dano got a chance in 80th minute when he took a shot after a deflected corner kick but his shot was nowhere near target.
Bali Gangandeep got a chance to get his name on the scoresheet but his weak effort didn’t trouble the keeper. As the Full-time whistle was blown it was it for the day. All Over. Minerva Punjab FC were crowned Champions of India in a historic moment for Indian Football.
AIFF Press Release