Debutants Minerva AFC too good for Kenkre FC

Minerva Academy Football Club (MAFC) dominated from the start as they trounced Kenkre FC 2-0 in the Western Conference tie of the 2nd Division League at Cooperage on Thursday evening. Two goals in the second half proved to be decisive as Minerva AFC recorded their first ever win India’s premier football league.

Salim Pathan made one change to the team that drew 0-0 with LoneStar Kashmir FC as Eygpsio Noronha replaced Yash Mhatre in the eleven.

Minerva AFC who were making their debut in the I-League 2nd Division made a bright start to proceedings as their high intensity pushed Kenkre FC on the back foot straightaway.

Minerva’s aggressive start to the game meant Kenkre FC were forced to have numbers back in their own half, which isolated striker Yao Bernard in the opposition half.

Despite having numbers back, Kenkre struggled to keep the visitors quiet as the two strikers Manvir Singh and Bala Dahir Alhassan were constantly stretching the defence by their movement upfront.

Kenkre FC’s Ritesh Perambra saved a certain goal in the 23rd minute, when he cleared Bala Alhassan’s header off the line. The Kenkre rearguard were once again forced into a last ditch clearance post the half hour mark as they somehow kept the visitors at bay.

The sharpness in Minerva’s play slowly vanished as the half progressed as Kenkre FC managed to stem the flow of the attacks as both teams went into the break level at 0-0.

Kenkre FC pushed up early on in the second half, but Minerva soon regained the control of the game as Kenkre FC struggled to live with their energy in the middle of the park.

The visitors won a penalty in the 60th minute, after left winger Prabhjot Singh who raced into the box attacking the space left vacant by the Kenkre FC left back Shivakumar and went down to a sliding tackle from a Kenkre defender, as the referee pointed to the spot.

However it was evident that there was no contact on Prabhjot Singh and he was successful in conning the referee K.Radhakrishnan who succumbed to the appeals of the Minerva players.

Harpreet Bedi stepped up to slot home the spot kick as Minerva scored their first ever goal in the I-LeSinghwhich gave them the crucial lead on enemy territory.

The goal gave Surinder Singh’s team a real boost as they went onto double their lead in the 76th minute, when Manvir Singh’s cross from the left was deflected into the feet of the Minerva skipper Simranjeet Singh who made no mistake in putting it away.

The second goal totally deflated Kenkre FC as Minerva AFC began to run riot in the Kenkre FC box. The Kenkre FC goalkeeper Siyas P. made some top saves to deny Minerva from adding to their tally but the visitors weren’t to be denied their first ever win in the 2nd Division League.

Minerva produced a stunning second half performance which proved too strong for Kenkre FC who simply did not turn up on the day


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