Nike Premier Cup 2018: Minerva Punjab FC seal third successive title
The U15 Academy boys of Minerva Punjab FC came up with a dominating performances to lift the Nike Premier Cup title for the third time in a row. In the final of the 2018 edition, they clinched the trophy by beating Pune outfit DSK Shivajians 4-0.
After defeating Aizwal FC on penalty shoot-outs in the semi-finals, the Chandigarh based team faced DSK Shivajians in the finals, a side that edged Bengaluru FC in a similar circumstances. The game started at a very high tempo with Minerva colts pressing DSK Shivajians for the ball.
The continuous pressure from the Minerva boys didn't take long to break open Shivajians defence as they were rewarded with an early goal. in the 15th minute midfielder Lalchhanhima Sailo, after a quick 1-2 with his fellow teammate made space for himself at the edge of the box before firing in a shot to the left of the DSK goalkeeper, who was left stranded, making it 1-0.
DSK tried making a comeback but failed to make any substantial chances inside the opponent box, often losing possession in the final third. Both teams entered the break at 1-0 score-line as Minerva looked comfortable with the lead. In the second half, Minerva once again started out aggressively and were quickly rewarded with the second goal.
Around the hour mark, Skipper Thoiba Singh got on to the end of a cross from the right side to make it 2-0. Eight minutes later Thoiba calmly converted a spot kick to triple the lead. In the 82nd minute, Bijio slotted home a loose ball to make it 4-0, few minutes later, Minerva almost scored the fifth when Sailo's ripping free-kick was well saved by the DSK keeper.
The match ended at 4-0 scoreline as Minerva went on to lift their third Nike Premier Cup title in a row. The Ranjit Bajaj co-owned outfit has produced numerous youth footballers in recent years. Most notably, the players that represented India in U-17 FIFA World Cup include historic goal scorer Jeakson Singh.