MUMBAI, NOV 19 : Minerva Academy FC opened their account with full three points in their debut match in the Hero I-League 2nd Division 2015-16 season. Minerva Academy FC beat Kenkre FC at the historic Cooperage ground here with goals from Harpreet Bedi and skipper Simranjeet Singh. The final score line was 0-2 in Minerva’s favour.
Both teams started on a cautious note with Kenkre FC trying to feel out their opposition, and the Minerva FC boys playing for the first time ever on an artificial turf under flood lights. After about 20 minutes, the Minerva boys started to find their rhythm and made many forays into the opposition half. But some good defending by the Kekre players made sure that the score stayed at 0-0 at the end of the first half. Kekre FC were playing their second match at home compared to Minerva’s first and had more experience playing on this surface as Cooperage has been their home ground for the past many seasons.
In the second half the coach Surinder Singh must have worked magic at the lemon break as his boys came out with renewed vigour and started attacking from the get go. Prabhjot Singh made a brilliant run on the left wing and cut inside to unleash a powerful shot which was very well saved by the Kekre keeper.
After a few moments there was a brilliant build up play by Bala Dahir Alhassan who brilliantly controlled the midfield and created a golden chance for Manvir Singh who unleashed a powerful shot but was gain thwarted by the brilliance of Shayaz Khan the Kekre Keeper. Now the attacks were coming hard and fast.
A brilliant pass from skipper Simranjeet found Prabhjot Singh in the box but he was roughly brought down by the opposition central defender causing the referee to point to the spot. In the resulting penalty, Harpreet Bedi the left back of Minerva Academy FC calmly slotted the ball home in the 61st minute to make it 1-0 in Minerva’s favour. The Minervans did not want to sit back on their lead and started attacking again.
Finally in the 70th minute Bala Alhassan made a classy 1-2 with Manvir Singh which fed captain Simranjeet who finished it in style giving Minerva a 2-0 lead. But the Minervans would not back down. The attacks were injected with some more pace with the introduction of the substitutes, 17 year old Krishna Pandit and 19 year old Dilli Ram Sanyasi. Immediately after coming on Krishna (who was also the U-16 Indian football team capatin) almost made it 3-0 with a brilliant shot which was again denied by the opposition keeper Shayaz Khan. It is a point to be noted that if it weren’t for Shayaz Khan, Kenkre FCs goalkeeper, the scoreline could have been much higher.
The man of the match was given to the defensive midfield maestro of Minerva Academy FC, Bala Dahir Alhassan, for his untiring efforts in the match.
Minerva now face Lone Star Kashmir at MAFCs home venue at Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on the November 29..