I-League: Minerva Punjab wins five-goal thriller against Lajong

Local boy Bali Gagandeep turned by scoring twice which took Minerva to the top of the table against Shillong Lajong in the I-League.

Minerva Punjab moved to the top of the table with the win over Shillong Lajong.   -  AIFF Media

Minerva Punjab took yet another step towards its maiden I-League title with a 3-2 win over Shillong Lajong at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Punchkula on Wednesday. Local boy Bali Gagandeep turned by scoring twice which took Minerva to the top of the table.

Khogen Singh got the home side configured in 4-2-3-1 formation with former East Bengal midfielder Armand Bazie being given a start.

Having shifted base from the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana, defender Guy Eric Dano made Minerva feel itself at home when he smashed the ball into the back of the net in only the sixth minute. It came as an outcome of Sukhdev’s long throw-in which came rumbling down to Dano after multiple deflections and flicks. Dano volleyed it with utmost precision to finish in the top right corner of the net giving no chance to the keeper.

Bali doubled the lead in the stoppage time of the first half when he tapped the ball in from a Chencho Gyeltshen low cross.

Lajong made a half-time substitution as Alen Deory joined the fray at the expense of Lalrohlua which made an instant impact for the away side. Two quick-fire goals from Daniel Odafin and Lawrence Doe in the 60th and 64th minute levelled the scores.

With both teams pushing for the winner, Gagandeep restored Minerva's lead with a left-footed drive past Nidhin Lal in the 81st minute from a kind knockdown at the edge of the box.

Abdoulaye Koffi appeared to get the better off Minerva's goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh by heading the ball into the net for an equaliser in the 88th minute only for the referee to disallow it for a foul.

With the result, Minerva took a two-point lead at the top of the table with 29 points after 13 matches. NEROCA dropped to second having played a match more than Minerva.

Lajong remains in the fifth spot after 15 games.

RESULT:

Minerva Punjab 3 (Guy Eric Dano 6', Bali Gagandeep 45+2') Shillong Lajong 2 (Daniel Odafin 60', Lawrence Doe 64')

 

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