Minerva rides on Chothe’s strike to advance to Hero Elite League final

Makan Winkle Chothe scored the match winner for Minerva Punjab in the semifinal against FC Goa in the Hero Elite League semifinal.

Minerva Punjab goalscorer Makan Winkle Chothe receives the ball against FC Goa.   -  AIFF MEDIA

Minerva Punjab FC rode on the solitary goal scored by Makan Winkle Chothe against FC Goa in the 14th minute to advance to the Hero Elite League 2018-19 final at the Nagoa Ground in Goa on Wednesday.

The reigning Hero I-League champion which had won the Hero Sub-junior League as well as the Hero Junior League in 2017-18, will lock horns with the winner of the second semifinal in the final on Friday. FC Pune City and Aizawl FC are slated to take the field in their quest to their maiden final.

The Punjab-based side needed not more than 14 minutes to find the back of the net as Chothe breached the Goa defence when on a quick counter-attacking move and slotted it past the goalkeeper Manav Baraskar.

Goa skipper Lesly Rebello and Joybert Ronald Almeida tried to exploit the flanks but a sturdy Minerva defence comprising of Hormipam, Parithoi Meetei thwarted the attacks.

After the changeover, Minerva introduced a couple of pair of fresh legs in its quest to seal the match but the Guars had shown their resilience.

Goa medios Lincoln Colaco and Doyal Alves tried to combine at the middle of the pitch to hurl attacks but the Minerva defenders stood tall.

With the introduction of Denzil Kharshandi at the stroke of the 70th minute mark, Minerva was looking more threatening inside the opponent box.

Goa got the best opportunity to score the equaliser in the 74th minute but the freekick hit the Minerva wall to leave the dugout in aghast.

Towards the final whistle, Minerva attacker Denzil Khashandi came close twice to widen the gap but his crosses from the left failed to find any of his teammates inside the six-yard box.

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