THE ONUS to win the title was on Minerva Punjab FC, not for first time though. Being at an advantage to win the league much earlier but squandered the chance and left it for the last matchday. The permutations were plenty in case Minerva slipped up in their match as East Bengal FC, NEROCA FC and Mohun Bagan all were potentially contenders for the title till the final whistle on March 8, 2017. But for Minerva the equation was simple: win the last game and take the I-League 2017-18 trophy home.
Minerva took on Churchill Brothers in the game at Panchula. Churchill keeper, Ricardo fumbled and William was waiting at the far end to smash in the opening goal from yards out on the 16th minute mark. The second half saw Churchill Brothers create some good chances to come back with the equaliser but were clumsy in their finishes.
In the other games, Mohun Bagan and Gokulam Kerala and NEROCA and East Bengal were all locked in a 1-1 scoreline heading into the final whistle. Their scores didn’t matter as Minerva Punjab had scored and managed to hold on to the only goal in the match.
After JCT last won, Minerva Punjab FC became the only team from Punjab to win the national league. In only their second season at the top division, Minerva were champions. On their debut, last season, they finished second from last in the league table. In the season 2015-16, they finished behind Dempo in the I-League 2nd division. What a journey it has been for the club in the last 3 years!
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