I-League: Minerva Punjab beats Indian Arrows, tops table

A double strike from William Opoku Asiedu gave Minerva Punjab a 2-0 win over Indian Arrows.

Indian Arrows (in blue) is now fourth on the points table, with three points. Photo: AIFF

William Opoku Asiedu struck twice to help Minerva Punjab beat Indian Arrows 2-0 in an I-League fixture here on Tuesday. The win took Minerva Punjab to the top of the points table, with seven points from three matches.

Both teams matched each other for majority of the game. The foreign players, especially Aseidu, made the difference for Minerva Punjab. Indian Arrows looked dangerous in its counter-attacks but it managed few shots on target. The defeat meant the team remains on three points from two matches.

Both teams had won their respective matches before this contest. Arrows had defeated Chennai City FC 3-0 in its I-League opener while Minerva had got the better of debutant NEROCA at home.

Indian Arrows made a couple of changes for this fixture; Deepak Tangri came in for Anwar Ali and Abhijit Sarkar replaced U-17 World Cup goal-scorer Jeakson Singh. Minerva Punjab made three changes from its last match. Rakshit Dagar replaced Arshdeep Singh between the sticks, Kamalpreet Singh came in place of Deepak Devrani and Asiedu started ahead of Bali Gagandeep.

Two minutes into the game, play was paused as two of the floodlight towers went off.

Early goal

Soon after resumption, Minerva Punjab surprised Indian Arrows with an early goal in the seventh minute. A throw-in from the left from Sukhdev Singh was dealt by defender Boris Singh, whose clearance landed in the way of Girik Khosla. Khosla quickly released the ball for William to unleash a power-packed shot. The shot went past the reach of Dheeraj Singh to find the corner of the net.

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The early goal put pressure on the young AIFF development side. Dheeraj, the keeper, had to punch the ball over the bar off a Kasim header in the 30th minute.

Indian Arrows slowly controlled the proceedings with quick short passes and had a chance to restore parity in the 32nd minute. A quick build-up from the middle from Boris saw Edmund releasing the ball for onrushing Sarkar, whose shot was collected by rival keeper Rakshit Dagar.

Minerva Punjab nearly increased the lead but Indian Arrows defender Jitendra Singh did well to tackle Lago Dogbo Bei in the nick of time.

The second half was mostly fought in the midfield as both sides’ defence did well to keep their citadel intact until Minerva Punjab striker William controlled a cross from the left and sent a powerful shot to beat keeper Dheeraj to find the back of the net in the 84th minute.

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