Although the southerners stay on top, the stalemate opens up a window of opportunity for several following sides.

Minerva Punjab played out a rather uneventful stalemate against table-toppers Chennai City at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Both teams failed to open the scoreline as lack of finishing and some steady defending settled the game for a point each. Chennai were on top from the first minute of the game, enjoying maximum possession of the ball. The hosts on the other hand, had some crucial chances to take the lead, but were let down by poor finishing.

The game had some late drama, as the home side were awarded a penalty in the dying moments. Nauzet Garcia became the star of the game, as the Chennai goalkeeper made a stunning save to deny Minerva’s Yu Kuboki’s tame effort. 

Here are the talking points from the game:

5. It was a game between two contrasting sides

Both the teams had a very contrasting approach to the game. Chennai relied more on short passing and working with more possession of the ball, while Minerva played long-balls with fast counter-attacks. The respective strategies worked just fine for both the teams, but did not help in finding that decisive goal.

Although, the southerners enjoyed more possession, it was the Warriors who had more clear chances to score.

4. What went wrong with Chennai’s free-flowing football?

Chennai dominated the game in its entirety, but the table-toppers were far from their usual best. The team which is known for their free-flowing football looked a little off colour on Sunday. Chennai City could not maintain the flow of the game, as they lost valuable possession several times in the build-up, which definitely cost them three points. 

3. Should Minerva have played with more attacking intent?

Right from the start, the home side sat deep and tried to soak up Chennai’s attack. It was more like they were letting Chennai City dominate them. The Warriors had some great chances to score whenever they showed attacking intent, however, failed to maintain the same intensity throughout the game. They relied completely on long-balls, the strategy seemed to be working whenever they committed more numbers in attack.


2. Did both teams pay the price for poor finishing?

Both the teams had an equal share of chances to open the scoring. Both sides had the capability and chances to score a few, however, had to stay content with only a single point. The attackers from both sides looked completely clueless inside the box, thus failing to convert any of their opportunities.

1. The draw opens up the title race once again

With 18 points and five wins under their belt, Chennai City stayed on top of the table, despite drawing against defending champions Minerva Punjab. However, with the likes of NEROCA FC, Real Kashmir and Churchill Brothers gaining momentum and the Kolkata giants’ advantage of having played less matches, the title race could see more twists in the near future.