Minerva Punjab edged past East Bengal 1-0 as they handed the Kolkata giants their third defeat of the 2018-19 I-League season. William Opoku scored the only goal of the game which proved to be the difference between the two sides as Minerva moved to the second spot.
Coach Paul Munster said that the defending champions had a positive outlook to the game and devised the plan accordingly.
“Yes, we expected to take three points in Kolkata. Before this match, East Bengal had played just four matches. It takes only one chance to score. Also the clean sheet makes me happy. This will give the players some much confidence. The second half was the turning point.
“In the first half they were better than us. We changed tactically in the second half. We had a good talk at the break and we let the players know what we are expecting. We played 4-3-3 in the second half. The players knew their roles in order to change the game. Moinuddin Khan is a perfect example as he put in a fantastic cross after coming in,” said Munster.
Minerva looked out of sorts in the opening 45 minutes and Munster explained that the plan was to ensure that they do not leak in a goal.
“We played too defensive in first half. We were dropping back too much. So it created too much space in the attacking third which we had to cover. It is difficult during the game to communicate as it is a huge ground. We just wanted to go 0-0 at half-time.
“Defensively we had a structure in place and we made sure that we did not concede. These games are very tight. Our main focus was to get the goal but we could have got another as we created more chances in second half. But the game is always about finishing,” he explained.
Minerva fielded 15-year-old Thoiba Moirangthem in the starting eleven and Munster was pleased with the performance of the full-back. He also explained why Donatus Edafe was substituted after coming on as a substitute in the first place.
“It is a huge experience for Thoiba, playing away against such a big team. We did not have much recovery time after our last game. I am happy with our performance and the way we played in the second half is also a testimony to our fitness levels.
“It was a completely tactical change. We put him (Donatus Edafe) in and it was not working. Chothe (Makan) came in and helped us change the complexion of the match,” said Munster.
Minerva next face league leaders Chennai City FC on the 16th of this month.