Moinuddin's late strike cancels out Norde's solo effort in I-League opener

Minerva Punjab and Mohun Bagan registered the first points on board for the new season of the I-League in a 1-1 draw at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Saturday.

Sony Norde (C) became the first goal scorer of the 2017-18 I-League. (file image)   -  i-league.org

Minerva Punjab and Mohun Bagan registered the first points on board for the new season of the I-League in a 1-1 draw at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Saturday.

Bagan was cruising to victory with a 1-0 lead but a very late equalizer from Minerva resulted in shared points in Ludhiana.

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Before the game began, a minute of silence was observed for the former All India Football Federation President Shri P.R. Dasmunsi, who passed away recently. Minerva looked more dominating in the first half and kept most of the possession.

Bagan on the other hand was more alert and played with caution. All the attack of Minerva came from the left flank in the early moments where Bhutanese forward Chencho tried to break up the Bagan defence multiple times but failed each time. Sony Norde had a good opportunity to give the away side a lead in 29th minute but his free-kick just missed the left corner of goal post.

A sheer moment of brilliance from Norde against the run of play in 42nd minute lead to the first goal of the game. Norde received the ball just ahead of the central defenders, he quickly dribbled the ball to the left beating Dano with his pace before slotting the ball in the bottom left corner.

At the end of half-time away side Bagan lead by a goal to nil.

As soon as the second half began there was sense of urgency in Minerva’s attack. Half-time substitute Lago who came in place of Japanese Toshiya was the centre of action. First he missed an open chance created by Girik Khosla after a goal line clearance by Bagan defence and then moments later he hit the post from the corner in the 58th minute.

The first half goal scorer and Bagan sharp shooter Norde created another goal scoring opportunity in 63rd minute but second half substitute Faiaz couldn’t connect to his low cross in front of the empty net. This missed opportunity came to haunt Bagan later on in the game when Minerva’s second half substitute Moinuddin scored a volley in the 89th minute to level the match. Minerva's no.10 quickly moved away from his marker struck the ball sweetly into the bottom left side of the net.

There weren’t any major chances for both teams after the equalizer and the full time scoreline read 1-1.