Arrows were the side with a higher possession in the first half but the young forward line wasn’t able to create any clear chance to put the team in lead in the first half.
Players of Minerva Punjab FC thank their supporters after the match at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula on Saturday. (Express photoby by Jaipal Singh)
A solitary goal by Nigerian forward Philip Njoku propelled Minerva Punjab FC to a 1-0 win over Indian Arrows in their match in the I-League played at Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Saturday. It was Minerva Punjab FC’s second win this season and the win meant that the defending champions now have eight points out of six matches with two wins, two draws and two losses. The win also took Minerva Punjab FC to fifth spot in the points table with Chennai City FC leading the table with 17 points.
The Floyd Pinto-coached Indian Arrows showed their intentions right at the start of the match but Minerva Punjab FC’s seasoned defenders made sure that Arrows could not score from the chances. Arrows were the side with a higher possession in the first half but the young forward line wasn’t able to create any clear chance to put the team in lead in the first half.
Both the teams had two shots each on the goal though Minerva Punjab FC came close to taking the lead when William Opoku of Ghana failed to find the back of the net in the dying seconds of the first half.
After half-time, Arrows’ first clear chance came in the 49th minute when Rahul KP made an attempt at the goal but Minerva Punjab FC goal-keeper Arshdeep made a valiant save to deny Indian Arrows the lead. Arrows breached the Minervan defence line a few times after that but weren’t successful in converting those chances. Nigerian Philip Njoku had his first chance to give Minerva Punjab FC the lead in the 59th minute but his outstretched hand on the face of Arrows’ goalkeeper Prabhsukan Gill meant that the referee to rule it as a foul with the ball finding the net and goal was cancelled. Rahul KP again missed a fine chance to score the equaliser for Arrows when his beautiful run beating Lancine Toure and Columbian Caicedo Rodriguez missed the goal from close in the 68th minute. Philip Njoku took an advantage of some confusion between Prabsukhan Gill and one of the Arrows defender to score the winning goal for the hosts in the 74th minute of the match. Njoku was declared as man of the match.