Minerva Academy FC emerge AIFF Sub-Junior League 2023-24 champions

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Minerva Academy FC 7 (Konthoujam Denamoni 26’, 41’, 45’, Mohammed Azam Khan 38’, 39’, 50+2’, Wankheirakpam Punshiba Meetei 49’)

beat

Bengaluru FC 4 (Mohammad Sohil Khan 12’, CH Sakip, Yajas Nilesh Bafna 34’, Akash Mondal 44’)

AIFF Media Team

BHUBANESWAR: Minerva Academy FC staged a stunning second-half comeback to bag the AIFF Sub-Junior League 2023-24 title at the Capital Football Arena on Friday, May 24, 2024.

Trailing 0-2 in the first session against Bengaluru Football Club in a match of 50- minutes duration, Minerva stormed the rivals in the next 25 minutes to win 7-4 in the end. Minerva’s victory was studded with two hat-tricks by Konthoujam Denamoni and Mohammed Azam Khan, while Wankheirakpam Punshiba Meetei scored the other goal from a spot kick.

For Bengaluru FC, Mohammad Sohil Khan, CH Sakip, Yajas Nilesh Bafna and Akash Mondal were the marksmen. They began on a promising note, taking the lead in the 12th minute when Mohammed Sohil Khan’s cleverly taken free kick from the right found the target. In the 21st minute, CH Sakip sent the ball to the far corner of the Minerva net with a quick turn inside the box.

Minerva FC made a vigorous return after the change of ends and reduced the margin within 30 seconds when Konthoujam Denamoni received a cross in the box and scored with a deft touch. But the story looked all over when Yajas Nilesh Bafna made it 3-1 for Bengaluru in the 34th minute.

There was, however, lots of drama in store in the last 12 minutes. Seven goals were scored during this period, with Minerva slamming six of them. Two goals in as many minutes by Mohammed Azam Khan made it 3-3 and Konthoujam Denamoni pumped in two more in the 41st and 45th minutes to put Minerva FC in the lead for the first time in the match.

In between, Akash Mondal’s last-ditch attempt to save the day for Bengaluru FC with a left-footer from inside the box didn’t yield the required result as Minerva, coached by Vineet Kumar Kantiwal, stormed the rival citadel to score two more in the last two minutes of the match.

Among the spectators was Indian senior men’s team coach Igor Stimac.

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