Match Report : Minerva Punjab 0-0 Churchill Brothers SC
Minerva Punjab FC, after a dreadful loss at home against Red & Golds in their last fixture, finally put up a decent display in the Hero I-league to share the spoils with Churchill Brothers FC Goa at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Wednesday.
Churchill Brothers led by Keenan Almeida have opted to bank on their winning formula playing the same eleven and same formation 4-1-4-1 against Minerva who have featured David to start in the attacking third alongside Ivan Filatov and Loveday who are back to strengthen the back four along with Kareem pushing Arashpreet to the wings.
Churchill Brothers played their routine attacking football banking on their lone striker Anthony Wolfe who is always kept on keen watch by the two strong foreign Minerva centre backs Loveday and Kareem. Minerva FC played total high pressing football to prevent the Churchill attacks.
The game saw a lot of end-to-end actions, with Minerva having most of the opportunities. Both teams got chances of scoring, but Minerva had wasted their chances from a one-on-one opportunity for David against Churchill custodian Priyant Singh with his shot going just wide while Ivan spilling a cross from Victor Amobi just inches over the target.
Kareem saw his free kick come off the crossbar after a touch on by Priyant Singh and in the other end Germanpreet’s cheeky error led to Churchill striker Wolfe finding Lyngdoh but Arashpreet came to Minerva’s rescue.
Loveday brought down Wolfe at the edge of the box, which was a controversial; decision as it looked like a penalty driving Churchill Coach Fernandes furious.
In the second half, the game began to build up as Minerva and Churchill Brothers both started using the width of the field and putting pressure in the opposition halves. Churchill Brothers defender Rowilson came close to scoring after dribbling past Kareem and slotting a fine shot, just missing the angle directing it out of danger.
Victor Amobi was the spearhead along the flanks for Minerva Punjab FC, while Keenan Almeida also has been on owl’s watch to put away the threatening areal duals. Uttam Rai after his injury against Aizawl FC had come on, but had failed to be a threat putting away a drifted cross from Jewel Raja.
Adil Khan picked on some ambitious efforts from halfway through, but they didn’t really trouble Arnab Das, the Minervan Custodian. The game was well in the balance till the brink of the moment with the end-to-end tackles flying in and Minerva having two of their attacking players booked in quick successions. The Red Machines played with all grit and determination to slot home another three points, but then it was a share of spoils at full time at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana.
The Hero of the Match was awarded to the Churchill Brother defender Rowilson Rodrigues for his brilliant defending display throughout the course of the game.