I-League: Minerva goes top with spirited second-half display

A report of the I-League match between Minerva Punjab and Aizawl FC.

Minerva Punjab (file photo).   -  Twitter

Minerva Punjab moved atop the Hero I-League table courtesy a 2-0 home win over Aizawl FC. It has a match in hand on Neroca, which has 31 points from 17 matches, and now holds a three-point lead over Kingfisher East Bengal having played the same number of matches (16).

Minerva played on the front-foot for much of the 90'. It dominated possession and created chances from set-pieces and long-balls that weren't always defended well by Aizawl. In terms of numbers, it had 72 per cent possession in the first half but didn't quite carry a major threat. The visitor was wasteful in possession and contributed to itself defending as much as it did.

Minerva was quick off the blocks in the second half and, unlike in the first period, it had more purpose to its passing. In addition to dominating possession, it carried a genuine goal threat now.

22-year-old Akash Sangwan gave the home side the lead in the 50th minute, pouncing on a rebound off the goalkeeper (Avilash Paul), who had saved his first-time shot from a perfectly-weighted low cross from the right flank. Sangwan was on hand to hit the target with an easy header.

Minerva was a constant menace thereafter as well, while Aizawl struggled to put together meaningful attacks. The visitor resorting to route-one stuff only played into Minerva's hands.

Then, as the result of the match became clear towards the dying minutes, Bazie Armand got on the end of a William Opoku's flick-on, controlled the ball and slotted into the open goal. Goalkeeper Avilash had raced off his line to collect the long ball hit from near the halfway line, but his erroneous judgment didn't spare him the embarrassment.

Result: Minerva Punjab 2 (Akash Sangwan, Bazie Armand) - 0 Aizawl FC

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