It was the first defeat for the Northern outfit in the season.
Northern powerhouse Minerva Punjab FC’s U18 played Kochi based Kerala Blasters in the Round 3 of the ongoing AIFF U18 Youth League in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Shillong.
The Mohali based Warriors who were unbeaten throughout the tournament finally went down to the Sachin Tendulkar owned team in a hard fought match where Jatin Badhan opened the scoring in the 10th minute to give the blues the lead. The South Indian team, however, managed to pull one back thru skipper Pragyan Sundar Gogoi and double their lead again in the 48th minute to make it 2-1 in their favour.
The match ended with the same scoreline handing over the team from North their first defeat of the season.
Interestingly, both teams Kerala Blasters and Minerva Punjab FC qualify for the next round of the tournament being placed second and third in the group which saw Sports Authority of India (Gujarat) loose out on the spot.
Minerva Punjab FC who were aware of their qualification to the next round fielded their reserve team for the match against Kerala Blasters that saw Defenders Anwar Ali and Sourabh being replaced by Rohit, Dalbir along with Bhagi, Jeakson, Tarni making way for Lalram, Govin, Cheasong in the mid-field. Radha and Sahajahan who were deployed on the flanks too were replaced by Jatin and Michael as the attacking line upfront saw Noacha, Rana, Rebanta coming in to replace Makan Chhote, Mang and Nongdamba.
Gaffer Nitish Singh and Harpreet Bedi who are aware of their responsiblity of bringing home the club’s 4th Domestic league title after successfully winning Hero I-League, AIFF U15 & U13 title will leave no stone unturned to keep up their expectations.