I-League: Minerva on cusp of history as final encounter beckons

Minerva Punjab FC is the only team amongst the four - NEROCA FC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal - which doesn't depend on any other outcome to win the league provided it secures all three points against the Red Machines.

Minerva Punjab FC currently leads the table with 32 points.   -  AIFF Media

As the Hero I-League 2017-18 reaches its business end, Minerva Punjab FC is gearing up to host relegation-threatened Churchill Brothers FC Goa at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panch Kula on Thursday.

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Minerva Punjab FC is the only team amongst the four - NEROCA FC, Mohun Bagan and East Bengal - which doesn't depend on any other outcome to win the league provided it secures all three points against the Red Machines.

Meanwhile, it holds a slender chance to win the league with a draw or worse, provided other two outcomes in Kolkata and Kozhikode go in its favour.

It will also be a do or die game for Churchill Brothers as it battles for survival in the top division of Indian football.  It is currently sitting on 17 points with one match left and anything less than a win can't avert the peril for the Goan outfit.

The away team coach Alfred Fernandes said that this match is crucial for the future of Churchill Brothers as well as Minerva Punjab.

“It’s a very important match for the team. For Minerva, it’s a do or die match for them to win the I-League and for us also it’s a do or die match for survival in the I-League.

"It’s a tough match and whoever will take their chances, will come out as winners. It’s all about keeping yourself cool and expect a very tough match,” he told in the presser at Panch Kula.

Alfred Fernandes also mentioned the new era in Indian Football beckons where new clubs are taking over the legacy clubs of Indian football.

“Earlier, the legacy clubs were walking away with the honours. Now it’s good that smaller clubs are fighting neck-to-neck with the clubs. Only Indian football will benefit from this”, Alfred added.

Minerva Punjab head-coach Khogen Singh simply believes that Minerva Punjab needs to focus on its game rather keeping an eye on other two matches.

“We don’t need to think about others, we have to just concentrate on our game. We have to win our game. Our aim, our objective, our motto is to win the match. If we win this match, we will end up as the winners. We think about our game,” Khogen Singh responded with confidence.

Rahul Das described how important tomorrow’s match is going to be for the Minerva Punjab FC players.

“It will be good not only for me but also for all the players. Last season we were 9th and this season we are at the top. It will be an achievement for the lifetime. It is the result of the sheer hard work by the coaches, players and owners”, Rahul opined.

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