Minerva AFC overcame Mumbai FC 4-2 on penalties in the DSK Cup 2016 Quarter Final.
A fierce and young Minerva Academy FC colts defeated a formidable and experienced Mumbai FC in a closely contested 120 minutes played at the DSK Dream City Grounds, Pune in the quarter finals of the ongoing DSK Cup 2016. The historic win surely was the biggest surprise of the tournament as Minerva AFC who fielded a majority of its U-18 players fought their hearts out to turn many heads. Average age of the Minerva squad was 16.5 years, with junior wonders like Shahjahan and Ajaruddin who are part of the U-15 team. On the other hand Mumabi FC fired a full strength I-league side.
The game started on a positive note for Minervans as they earned a free kick in the 4th minute on top of the box but the blues didn’t make much of it shooting it wide. The next couple of minutes saw Mumbai FC using their experience to give Minervans a chase for the ball but the war horses from Chandigarh didn’t let them make much of it as they managed to break their play and defended well on every attack the opponents made. On one such occasion in the 14th Minute minervans turned the table around with a quick counter attack but former India International Manandeep Singh’s shot went wide kissing the woodwork. Minervans then dominated the proceedings for sometime with some fine footwork but managed to get nothing out of their attempts to break the deadlock in their favour. A couple of good crosses from Mumbai FC winger Cletus Paul too created danger for the Minerva’s back four but the young lads responded well flicking out the danger and not allowing Mumbai FC’s former India International Steven Dias to convert for a lead. The dying few minutes of the match took a rough turn as both team displayed a much more physical interceptions and harsh tackles but maintained their professionalism and good sportmanship. The half time whistle saw both team go in with an unchanged scoreline.
The second half saw Mumbai FC attack from the very beginning as former India U-19 player and Pilan Arrows man Shilton lobbed in an excellent through ball but Minerva’s alert India U-19 Goalkeeper Arshdeep Sigh come out to collect the danger into his safe hands. Minervans responded quickly on the next move itself with midfielder Altamash Sayed firing a thunderbolt volley bringing the spectators at the edge of their seats, but Mumbai FC’s experienced Goalkeeper Nadhin Lal punched it out for a corner. Few minutes later things got heated again as Mumbai’s Nikhil Kadam and Minerva’s Altamash had a arguments and seconds later Nikhil was booked for a harsh tackle in the very next minute. The battle continued till the 90th minute with some end-to-end football at the display but the scores remained unchanged until the final whistle and the game went into the added time with both side to be played 15 minutes each. But the added 30 minutes didn’t make much of difference to the scoreline and the game was finally to be decided through a nail biting penalty shootout where Mumbai FC won the toss and decided to kick first. The job was well done by Vaibhav Karpe who converted the first penalty but Minervan skipper Kareem Omolaja also covered. The next penalty saw Mumbai’s Cletus Paul’s shot saved by Minerva custodian Arshdeep Singh. Manandeep steeped up next for Minerva and scored. Mumbai were now chasing and next came Manuel who shot wide. Minervan Altamash came next to convert.
Fiinally Mumbai scored through Hitesh Sharma but Jackson Singh covered the winning penalty for Minerva. Minervans beat the Mumbai based team 4-2 on penalties and stormed into the Semi Finals.
Minerva has been rallying for promotion to the I-league first division this season and having beaten Mumbai FC, I-league regular with a junior squad is a feather in the cap for the Chandigarh based side.
Minerva Academy FC next takes on Defending Champions and I-League team DSK Shivajians one again on 18th November at 4 pm in the DSK Dream City Grounds, Pune for the Semi- Final.