Magnificent Minerva are The Champions of India...

Sabari Jagannathan  |  I-League  |  1 Year Ago

Not long ago a player brought up in the Minerva academy leaped to score India's first ever world cup goal at any level. The impressive academy players wrapped up the national juniors title and their fellow senior stars completed the clean sweep with a win over Churchill in Panchkula.


It went down to the wire. It was a brutal street fight at times. But the Punjabi lads have survived the test of their life to lift their maiden league trophy. I-league continues to ditch out fairy tales as the triumph of Minerva was preceded by  a surprising league win for Aizawl last season. Minerva had to wait till the final kick of their final league game against Churchill to lift their maiden I-league trophy amidst a very happy home crowd in Panchkula. Minerva became only the second side from North India to be crowned champions after JCT in 1996-97 season. 

The side from Punjab came into the last match day with the knowledge that a win will be enough for them to wrap up the league title regardless of other results. They were clinical from the start and capitalized on the nervy defence of Churchill Brothers. William Opoku scored the opener in the 16th minute to put the warriors in the driving seat.The Warriors withstood an inspired Churchill performance in the second half and condemned the visitors to relegation.



The warriors topped the table with 35 points from 18 games which included 11 wins. It is notable that none of their fellow title contenders were able to pick up all three points in the final match day. 


 It is also notable that the warriors only narrowly escaped relegation in their last season. Minerva made their debut in Indian football only two years ago in second division but have had an Herculean rise to the top in the past one year. The campaign had lots of ups and downs for Ranjit Bajaj's side including a vile match fixing attempt made to couple of Minervan players. The side lost a bit of steam in the final stretch of the competition but did just about enough to get their hands on the elusive trophy. The players celebrated the win wearing a T-shirt that read "National Senior and Junior Champions" and are completely worthy of that tag.


It's going to be a long party night filled with butter chicken and Bhangra dance in Panchkula. 


Congratulations to the Champions of India ! 


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