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I-League: William Opoku brace enough for Minerva Punjab against Indian Arrows

By Aravind
Indian Arrows' Suresh Wangjam makes a clearance against Minerva Punjab during their I-League match in Goa on Tuesday (Image courtesy: AIFF Media)

Margao, December 5: Minerva Punjab FC kept their unbeaten run intact as they downed high-flying Indian Arrows 2-0 in their I-league encounter at the Bambolim Stadium in Goa on Tuesday.

A wonder-goal early in the game by William Opoku (7th minute) and a late second-half goal (84th) from the Ghanian helped Minerva top the table with seven points from three matches.

Going into the game, Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos made two changes from the last game with Abhijit Sarkar and Deepak Tangri replacing Jeakson Singh and Anwar Ali.

As for Minerva Punjab, Rakshit Dagar replaced injured goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh along with Kamalpreet Singh and William Opoku Asiedu, who came in place of Deepak Devrani and Gagandeep Singh respectively.

Before the home side could even settle down, Minerva made their intentions clear thanks to a wonder goal from Opoku in the 7th minute.

The goal originated from a throw-in down the left. A long throw from Sukhdev Singh into the box was met with a weak clearance from Arrows right-back Boris Singh as it fell kindly to Girik Khosla.

With no one closing him down outside the box, Khosla laid it down for William Opoku, who unleashed a rocket of a shot from nearly 40 yards out. Arrows keeper Dheeraj Singh could do nothing as the ball drilled into the net past his outstretched right hand.

Meanwhile, the Minerva defence didn't give the Arrows attackers a sniff at goal.

And the first telling goal-scoring opportunity for Arrows saw striker Edmund Lalrindika releasing Abhijit Sarkar with a perfectly weighted ball. Sarkar tried a first-time shot but it lacked power or precision as it bounced slowly into the arms of Rakshit Dagar. It was the only noteworthy chance for the Arrows who were otherwise subdued.

Minerva started the second half in the way they started the first - by putting Arrows under pressure.

But Arrows regrouped and they started going forward. And they had an opportunity when Minerva conceded an indirect free-kick when Sukhdev Singh lobbed a ball back to the goalkeeper, who collected it with his hands down the left channel close to the touchline.

Stalin slipped a pass into the centre to Sarkar, whose steered shot was easily collected by Rakshit in the 69th minute.

Edmund was a livewire and created two excellent goal-scoring opportunities. One cross from the left and then from the right missed Rahul and Sarkar respectively.

Minerva Punjab should have been 2-0 up when a misunderstanding between Dheeraj and Deepak saw Opoku pounce on it as he rounded Deepak and tried to shoot into an open goal after Dheeraj couldn't make his way back to goal. But to Opoku's dismay, the ball hit the post before the danger was cleared.

But the Arrows could do nothing when Opoku showed his predatory skills when Checho found Opoku in the six-yard box and the Ghanaian scored his second of the night.

Source: AIFF Media

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    Story first published: Tuesday, December 5, 2017, 23:15 [IST]
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