Confusion galore as Minerva plays 115 minute match against CRPF

A Punjab Super League match witnessed 25 minutes of added time, which could very well be the longest period of added time in Asian football history

20 minutes of added time was added in a Punjab Super League match (Representative Image)   -  Getty Images

While most games have an average added time between three and five minutes, a Punjab Super League match witnessed a grand total of 25 minutes of additional time!

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Saturday's encounter between I-League champion Minerva Punjab FC and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) saw both teams play out a 115-minute match littered with drama. The first half seemed like any other game, Minerva had a two-goal lead and five minutes of added time were played. However, the second half saw a series of unexpected events.

 

The match referee, Paramjeet Singh, seemed to have injured his ankle and play had to be stopped mid-way into the second half. He was soon replaced and Minerva's two-goal lead was halved in the 72nd minute.

With CRPF in pursuit of an equaliser, Minerva goalkeeper Vigneshwaran Baskaran staged many a time-wasting tactic to halt the opposition's momentum. As the second half neared its end, two teams were then made to endure an astounding 20 minutes of added time.

Decoding the series of incidents, joint secretary of the Punjab Football Association, Vijay Bali explained, “The match referee Paramjeet had twisted his ankle and hence he had to stop the game. The match was stalled for 12 minutes and he was replaced by line official Satvir Singh.”

“Adding to this was the fact that Minerva's goalkeeper appeared to be injured on seven occasions and was given a yellow card for his delaying tactics. Minerva was leading 2-1 and CRPF was attacking and he kept falling on the ground. This amounted to eight minutes of injury time. The match officials told the team to replace him if he was indeed injured,” he continued.

“There was only eight minutes of added time. The 12 minutes of stoppage time were added to it and hence 20 minutes were played,” he stated.

Minerva owner Ranjit Bajaj wasn't pleased with the period of additional time. “The referee was injured and instead of walking off the pitch, he sat down for a couple of minutes and then walked out and excused himself from the game,” he said.

“Our goalkeeper was injured twice and received medical treatment. Even if you add all the stoppages and give them the benefit of doubt, it will add up to 7, 8 or a maximum of 10 minutes. In all my years of football, I have never seen something like this. There were stoppages in the 20 minutes as well and we played two more minutes. We ended up playing a total of 22 minutes!” he remarked.

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What's interesting is that this could very well be the longest period of added time in Asian football history. In March 2015, Western Sydney Wanderers and Guangzhou Evergrande played 17 minutes of added time after Guangzhou's goalkeeper rammed into one of his defenders and broke his cheekbone.

Other notable games include Brentford's clash against Bristol City in 2000, which saw 23 minutes of added time in the first half alone and two players left with a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder.

In the English Premier League, an Arsenal-West Ham match in 2013 was witness to a 12-minute period of added time. Arsenal's Bacary Sagna and West Ham's Dan Potts cluttered against each other with the latter suffering a concussion.

While such incidents have happened over the course of football, the 20-minute added time period is definitely a first for Indian football.