Minerva Punjab 1-2 Shillong Lajong: Fabio Pena Stars In Lajong's Victory
Shillong Lajong returned to winning ways as they beat Minerva Punjab FC by 2-1 at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana tonight.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia (27′) opened the scoreline for the visitors where Karim Nurain (36′) drew parity on the scorecard nine minutes later. Fabio Pena (45′) pulled another for the Highlanders at the stroke of the half-time which eventually made the difference between the two teams.
Minerva Punjab FC started upbeat after their narrow defeat to the reigning champions in the last game week, started to enjoy the lion’s share of possession during the first phase of the match with their revamped lineup featuring gaffer Kareem as a striker.
Three minutes before the half-hour mark, Samuel drew the first blood for the visitors. Within 10 minutes, Minerva striker Kareem Nurain stunned the high-flying visitors with a sublime spot-kick to level the scoreline.
Eventually, Lajong’s Brazilian striker Fabio Pena struck again to leave the ground having a bleak edge over the hosts.
In the second half, Lajong started to attack in numbers utilising both their flanks. Fabio Pena played a vital role in organising the attacking strength of the visitors.
Kaith played a tremendous game under the posts earning his team invaluable three points. Minerva came close to scoring from Kareem’s shot but his effort was blocked by Lajong’s resilient backline.
Kinowaki had a thoroughly clean game with sublime control and balance to help his players organise in defence as well as in attack. Towards the end, Lajong hit the gas and Minerva box was flooded by a plethora of attacking moves by the visitors. Arnab Das came off his lines to snatch the ball from Yuta’s feet only to earn a booking, second for the hosts tonight.
With the win, Lajong sneak into the top four with 19 points from 12 outings whereas Minerva Punjab FC plunge to the eighth spot having gathered eight points less from as many matches.
Before the International break, Minerva FC host league leaders Aizawl FC at the Guru Nanak stadium on March 11 and Lajong will travel to Goa to clash their swords with Churchill Brothers FC Goa on the next day.