Shillong, Feb 8: Minerva Punjab won the Elite League (formerly U-18 Youth League) 2018-19 final 2-0 in Goa today over FC Pune City.
Makan Winkle Chothe (59′) and Moirangthem Thoiba Singh (67′) scored the champions’ goals in the second half.
Minerva fielded a team for the final that had plenty of North Easterners in it, including two Meghalayans – Denzil Kharshandi, who started, and Guidingstar Malieh, who was used as a substitute. Both players were selected by Minerva following trials last year in Jowai. Malieh had previously played for Shillong Lajong some years ago.
Over the course of the tournament Kharshandi scored three goals and played in 12 matches, while Malieh played in nine.
Unbeaten throughout the entire competition, Minerva topped the four-team Punjab group, winning five and drawing one of their matches, before coming second in Group A of the playoffs with two victories and two draws. They were then drawn in Group B of the final round, which they topped with two wins and a draw that came against 2017-18 champions Shillong Lajong, who were later knocked out.
The quarterfinals then saw Minerva involved in a tough fight with Mohun Bagan. Full time ended 1-1, but Minerva came through 6-5 on penalties. They then pipped FC Goa 1-0 in the semis to set up a meeting with Pune City in the final.
(Photo: All India Football Federation)