Chandigarh-based Minerva Academy FC won 4-3 on penalties against Royal Wahingdoh from Meghalaya in the final of the first ever All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) U15 Youth I-League at the Duler Stadium in Goa, on Friday.
Wahingdoh's Phrangki Buam's (77') opener was nullified by Minerva's Givson Singh (79') as the score remained tied 1-1 at the end of regulation as well as extra time. However, the team from Punjab held their nerve to register a 4-3 win in the ensuing penalty shootout.
Scouting for talent, India's U17 coach Nicolai Adam was present to oversee proceedings as the two teams battled to carve their name on the new trophy. Royal Wahingdoh began as favourites as they kept venturing deep into Minerva's territory in the first half.
Phrangki Buam and skipper Rheadolf Nelson Nongneng Daloi tested custodian Jaskarenvir Singh who managed to keep the attacking duo at bay. Minerva striker Subham Singh almost got the opener only to be denied by the woodwork just before half time at which point the tie remained scoreless.
Minerva came out the better looking team after the break with Givson Singh very nearly producing a repeat of his long-range goal in the semi-final. The Wahingdoh defence however, cleared the ball after it hit the crossbar.
The deadlock was broken in the 77th minute. Midfielder Rickyson Makdoh won a duel with Luntinmang Haokip in midfield before feeding the ball to Phrangki Buam. The attacker controlled the ball before smashing it into the net from 35 yards out.
However, Wahingdoh's lead was cancelled out just two minutes later. Givson Singh intrepidly curled one in from the right flank, beating goalkeeper Kevinson.
In the penalty shootout, goalscorer Phrangki missed from twelve yards out while Hmingsang Zuala hit the crossbar with the score tied at 3-3. Substitute Prasan Chhetri stepped up and struck the winning penalty as Minerva Academy became the champions, winning 4-3.