Minerva Academy FC suffered yet another defeat to a high flying Indian Navy team in its second game at the Durand Cup 2016 at Ambedkar Stadium, Delhi. ..
The Chandigarh based team made 5 changes to its Line up from its previous encounter against Himalyan Gangtok FC, bringing in experienced Gagandeep Singh in the back four to replace Jermanjit who is serving suspension after picking up a red card in the first match. Girik Khosla made way for former India International Clifford Miranda and Midfielder Jaison Vales was replaced by former Dempo SC midfielder Steven Fernandes. U-19 India International Moinuddin started and Guam International Marcus Lopez made his debut in India replacing nigerian striker Victor Amboi.
Indian Navy had the first move in the game with Minerva’s Liberian defender Korhena heading out the danger. The next move saw Marcus swifting past two Indian Navy defenders only for the Indian Navy custodian to flick his shot out. The game continued with fast pace for quite sometime with Minerva dominating the show for the first 20 minutes or so. Indian Navy however managed to settle down and started sharing equal amount of ball possession. Minerva created numerous dangerous attacks in its hunt for a opening goal but forwards, Manandeep and Marcus could not get the ball past the line.
Jersey no. 30 of Indian Navy produced a number of good crosses from the left wing to his fellow strikers but they could not make much of it. In the 30th minute Minerva’s striker Manandeep Singh got the spectators at the edge of their seats when his powerful volley from a 10 yards outside the box narrowly missed the woodwork. Expectations were high from Manandeep (ISL- Kerala Basters fame) but he disappointed by picking up a yellow card in the 32nd minute for pushing and exchanging words with an Indian Navy defender right under the referee’s nose.
The next couple of minutes left the Minervans stunned and the spectators baffled as Minerva conceded two quick goals within a span of 10 minutes shattering the hopes of men in blue from chandigarh. The final nail in the coffin was in the 43rd Minute when Indian Navy scored again, this time from a free kick giving them a upper hand in the game just at the Half-Time and making them the clear favourites in this encounter. The score was 3-0 at half time in Navy’s favour.
The 2nd half saw a couple of substitutions for Minerva as Midfielder Jackson made way for the more experienced Jaison Vales and Steven Fernandes was replaced by Arshdeep Singh. A couple of minutes later striker Marcus too was substituted by Nigerian forward Victor Amboi. Minerva suffered another major blow in the 60th minute when striker Manandeep Singh was booked again for a harsh tackle and got the marching orders. He will remain suspended from Minerva’s next game also. Minerva AFC were left with 10 men and had no chance of catching up to the 3-0 scoreline, however they managed to hold together their defence and did not concede any more goals in the 2nd half despite being a man down. The match ended with final score of 3-0 in favour of Indian Navy.
The loss caused another major dent to Minerva Academy FC’s Durand Cup final round hopes. Minerva ended up at the bottom of the table for their pool with two matches played but could make a comeback if they win upcoming games.
Minerva next take on Army Green at 4.30 PM at Harbaksh Stadium, New Delhi.