Minerva Punjab U-13 secures Youth League

The junior team follows in the footsteps of the first team, which won the 2017-18 I-League title.

The victorious Minerva Punjab U-13 team poses together after winning the Youth League title.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Minerva Punjab FC eased past Mohammedan Sporting Club 3-0 in the final to triumph the inaugural U-13 Youth League at the Barasat Stadium today (May 8).

Mohammedan SC more than played its part in an entertaining final, but it was Minerva Punjab’s energy that would light up the occasion and provided a thrilling end to a thoroughly entertaining tournament.

Read: 'India can finish in top two from AFC Asian Cup group'

Minerva Punjab, which led 1-0 at the interval, scored through Longjam Swami Singh (third minute) and Himanshu Jangra (45th and 46th minute) at the Vidyasagar Stadium in Barasat, Kolkata.

Although Minerva Punjab went into the game as the hot-favourite, Mohammedan SC began the game in attacking mode and could have taken the lead in the first minute itself. Skipper Sujay Budhuk did well to cut in past a couple of defenders from the left but his powerful drive sailed inches over the crossbar.

While the Young Panthers pressed high up, Minerva Punjab managed to take the lead against the run of play at the other end. Winger Swami Singh capitalized on an error by Mohammedan SC custodian Sakirul Islam from a header to put his team ahead.

Having conceded early on, Mohammedan SC began attacking with intensity through Mohammed Zeedan, Nabakumar Santra and Sujay, but Minerva Punjab showed character to hold on and at the same time also managed to create chances of its own only for its strikers Tongbram Maheron Singh and Himanshu to miss presentable opportunities, the first half ending 1-0.

The second half was a similar story as Mohammedan SC dominated the majority of the proceedings looking for the equalizer and almost camped in the rival half.

Mohammedan SC looked to catch Minerva Punjab on the counter-attack, but poor finishing proved to be its downfall as they wasted a number of good opportunities to level the scoreline.

However, Minerva Punjab ended Mohammedan SC’s hopes of a comeback with back-to-back goals through their skipper Himanshu in the 45th and 46th minute respectively.

Meanwhile, Mohammedan SC at the other end had their best chance of the game when Sujay slid in a teasing low ball for Tapan Soren, who just managed to direct an effort on target, but Minerva Punjab keeper Charles Tongbram had come quickly off his line to make a brave block in the 64th minute.

Minerva Punjab had a golden chance to go further up in the 68th minute when Maheron found himself in space inside the area but his first touch let him down and the opportunity slipped by because of poor technique.

In the additional time, Mohammedan SC went all out for some late goals but Minerva Punjab did well to protect its gains as the match ended 3-0 with Minerva Punjab clinching the title.

  Dugout videos