I League 2017-18 Match 71: Minerva Punjab FC vs East Bengal Player Ratings
East Bengal traveled to Punjab to face Minerva in what was a must-win game for the red and golds as a draw or a loss would have crushed the title hopes for the Kolkata giants. While Minerva was looking to strengthen and widen the gap in the top of the table.
The match started on a positive note for the visitors under treacherous pitch conditions in Panchkula as East Bengal began attacking from the early stages of the game and nearly went ahead in the 30th minute when Dudu played a brilliant through ball to Yami Longvah but the East Bengal academy product failed to connect properly and wasted probably the best chance of the game thus far. The teams went into the lemon break tied at 0-0.
The second half infused much-needed urgency into the game from both sides, with Minerva enjoying more of the ball, but East Bengal creating more of the chance. Both the teams had a couple of chances to score but in the end, it was Cavin Lobo's thundering strike from 30 yards out which decided the match. East Bengal defeated Minerva 1-0 to open up the league title.
On that note, lets take a look at the player ratings.
Minerva Punjab FC
Rakshit Dagar (6/10): Rakshit was substituted after Minerva had conceded, and the exact reason as to why he was substituted is also not clear. Rakshit though didn’t have to do anything special today, as most of the saves he made were regulation saves.
Kamalpreet (6/10): Kamalpreet has been really good this season, but today was a shade below his usual self. It started from the 4th minute when East Bengal academy graduate Yami Longvah got the better of the Punjabi lad, and from then on he was beaten by the East Bengal wingers on numerous occasions, but one thing that he always did was track back properly and cut down the crossing channels. He also put in some crunching tackles.
Sukhdev (6/10): Sukhdev did a good job to keep the likes of Dudu and Kromah quiet, he really had a big effect in keeping the latter at bay. He did struggle physically against the big African strikers but never shied away from a tackle.
Eric Dano (7/10): Dano made sure that Dudu didn’t get an inch of space. Dudu was fed some good balls from the likes of Lobo, Amna but never had the time and space to turn and shoot. Dano made sure Minerva didn’t just hoop the ball forward and looked to build up attacks from the back. Dano was lucky though as his handball inside the 6 yard box was not given as a penalty by the referee.
Amandeep (5.5/10): Amandeep was time and again beaten by the likes of Lobo and also Amna. Amandeep also couldn’t support Chenco in attack. Amandeep tried hard to create openings but wasn’t very effective.
Bazzou (5.5/10): Bazzie Armand was playing against his former side East Bengal, and that too in a different role than what he is used to. He was pushed much further up the pitch, but couldn’t really do much, he was lucky of sorts as his tackle on Katsumi Yusa went unnoticed inside the box.
William Opoku (5/10): Opoku had probably the best chance of the game to score when a Chencho cross found William completely unmarked inside the box but his header from 6 yards out was a complete blunder. Had Opoku scored from that cross Minerva would have had one hand on the League title at the moment.
Kassim Aidara (5.5/10): Aidara was a busy man in the middle of the park today, as he was mostly occupied with his defensive duties and he had a torrid time keeping the likes of Cavin Lobo, Amna and Katsumi quiet. Kassim had a few shots at goal, though but nothing came of it.
Souvik Das (6.5/10): Souvik did a brilliant job of keeping Katsumi Yusa quiet, he was Katsumi’s shadow for the whole match and followed the Japanese midfielder everywhere he went. Souvik’s tackling anticipation and covering was really good today.
Chencho (6/10): Chencho probably had the quietest game of the I League so far. He was rarely seen on the ball in the first half. In the second half he did come to life and put in a brilliant ball for William but the Ghanian made a mess of things. Chencho also didn’t track back and help out Amandeep in his defensive duties.
Bali Gagandeep (5/10): Bali Gagandeep rarely had the ball at his feet and had a torrid time keeping the likes of Lobo and Amna quiet. Gagandeep also seemed to have problems in his positioning and often looked out of position while covering the likes of Dudu.