Panchkula, December 1: Defending champions Minerva Punjab FC struck a late goal to beat Indian Arrows by a solitary goal in an I-League match at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium here on Saturday.
Philip Njoku scored the all-important goal in the 76th minute to give the home side all the three points.
The young Arrows side had better ball possession but their forwards were not able to create any clear opportunity in the first 45 minutes.
Both the teams had two shots each on the opposition goal in the first half though Minerva had the closest chance but their Ghanian forward William Opoku failed to find the back of the Arrows net.
Philip Njoku proved his credentials in a hard fought victory for the Warriors!— MINERVA PUNJAB FC (@minervapunjabfc) December 1, 2018
Will this affect the Player of the Month race though? If you haven't voted yet, do it today (tweet pinned to the page). pic.twitter.com/2WPGVSLsIX
After the break, Arrows' first clear chance came in the 49th minute when Rahul KP took a deft attempt at the goal but Arshdeep made a valiant save to deny the visitors the lead.
Indian Arrows breached the Minerva defence a few times after that but were not successful in converting those chances.
Nigerian Philip Njoku had a great chance to give Minerva Punjab the lead in the 59th minute. He bulged the net but the referee ruled that he had handled the ball and the goal was disallowed.
Rahul KP again missed a fine chance for Indian Arrows when his attempt after getting the better of Lancine Toure and Caicedo Rodriguez missed the target from a handshaking distance in the 68th minute.
The Arrows defence was breached in the 76th minute when Philip Njoku took an advantage of a defensive error between goalkeeper Prabsukhan Gill and a fellow defender to poke in the eventual winning goal for the home side.