I-League 2017-18 Recap: Key victories for Minerva Punjab in championship journey

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I-League
The Chandigarh-based outfit registered a total of 11 victories in their 2017-18 campaign; we take a look at the most important ones.

  1. I-League

    #1 Minerva Punjab 1-0 Churchill Brothers, 08/03/18

    The championship race went down to the wire when Minerva Punjab faced Churchill Brothers on their home soil for the last game. The Warriors needed a win to get their hands on the trophy; anything less than three points would give hope to contenders NEROCA, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

    William Opoku emerged as the hero in Minerva’s fairytale end as he found the net in the 15th minute after a shaky Churchill defence let his miscued shot in. The strike ensured full points as the Ranjit Bajaj owned side were crowned champions of India.
     
  2. I-League

    #2 Mohun Bagan 1-2 Minerva Punjab, 10/01/18

    A brace from Bhutanese sensation Chencho Gyeltshen in the first half was enough for Minerva Punjab to surge to the top of the table back then, leapfrogging the Mariners’ arch-rivals East Bengal.

    While Chencho registered two goals in a space of seven minutes, Bagan's Ansumana Kromah missed a penalty in the first half. Though Eze Kingsley pulled a goal back in added time, it could not prevent Sankarlal Chakraborty's side from falling to a second home loss of the season.
  3. I-League

    #3 NEROCA 0-1 Minerva Punjab, 27/01/18

    Towards the end of January, Minerva had edged closer to the title with a solitary win over title contenders NEROCA in an away fixture. The Manipur-based side bowed down to Khogen Singh’s boys as they grabbed an early lead through 21-year-old Chencho’s second-minute volley.

    The result took the north Indian outfit’s total to 25 points from 10 games while NEROCA were four points off Minerva. 
  4. I-League

    #4 Minerva Punjab 2-1 NEROCA, 01/12/17

    In what was their first victory at the Guru Nanak Stadium this season, Minerva bounced from behind to register two goals before the break as they staged a comeback win against the I-League debutants.

    NEROCA broke the deadlock through Odili Chidi but the home side stood firm to claw their way back into a game with Chencho Gyeltshen and Lago Bei bagging a goal each.
  5. I-League

    #5 Minerva Punjab 3-2 Shillong Lajong, 07/02/18

    Playing for the first time at Panchkula’s Tau Devi Lal stadium, Minerva recorded a thrilling 3-2 win over a spirited Shillong Lajong. Strikes from Eric Dano and Gagandeep Bali had kept the hosts in the lead at the break but they conceded two goals in four minutes to lose the two-goal cushion around the one hour mark.

    It seemed Daniel Odafin and Lawrence Doe had sealed the crucial away draw for the Meghalaya side but Bali’s left-footed finish from a loose ball in the 81st minute meant the hosts withstood the visitors’ charge in the dying minutes to cap off a vital victory.