Minerva Punjab - who scored through Longjam Swami Singh (24'), Naoba Sanabam Meitei (35+1'), Tongbam Maheron Singh (38' & 52') and Kamalesh Singh Bisht (61') -produced a commanding performance, totally dominating their opponents to book their place in the final of the competition.
Looking to stamp their authority on proceedings, Minerva had the Sudeva defence under all kinds of pressure early on and they could have scored twice in the opening 15 minutes, were it not for a lack of composure in front of goal by Maheron and some excellent goalkeeping from Mohit Singh Dhami.
Minerva’s blistering start was to pay dividends in the 24th minute when Swami scored from close range after being set up by skipper Himanshu Jangra.
Sudeva continued to look shell-shocked and were nearly 2-0 down in the 29th minute when Maheron thudded a header into the crossbar.
The rampant Minervans added their second goal in the first-half stoppage time, defender Sanabam Meitei was in the right place to stab the ball into the net after Winnerdeep Singh’s cross had ricocheted around the box.
Soon after the restart, Maheron got in on the act in the 38th minute when Swami’s clever back-heel allowed him to blaze in an angled shot from 10-yards out to make it 3-0.
Meanwhile, Sudeva also had a few chances in front of the goal but their best chance did not come until the 49th minute when Sanjay Ray's cross was turned against the post by substitute Saif Khan.
Three minutes later Minerva put the game beyond Sudeva's reach after Maheron scored from Himanshu's pass to complete his brace.
Minerva keeper Charles Tongbam finally had some work to do when he kept out Saif and Aryan Khokhar in quick succession, but the Minerva were in the mood and added their fifth goal just after the hour mark when substitute Kamalesh Singh Bisht got on the scoresheet with a clinical finish at the near post from Devidson Singh’s cross.
The Punjab outfit will now face the winner of the second semifinal between Mohammedan Sporting Club and SAI East Zone in the ultimate clash on Tuesday.
Posted on : Sunday May 06, 2018