Minerva beat Neroca 1-0, consolidate top position
Imphal: Bhutanese striker Chencho Gyeltshen scored in the third minute as Minerva Punjab beat Neroca FC 1-0 in an entertaining I-League match to strengthened their position at the top of the table here on Saturday.
In the 12th round clash between the two top teams in the league table, Gyeltshen's early strike made all the difference in the fast-paced and closely contested match as the Punjab side walked away with full three points, much to the disappointment of the 17,000 strong home supporters at the Khuman Lampak Stadium.
With Saturday's win, Minerva now have 25 points from 10 matches and they are now four points clear of Neroca, who still occupy second spot with 21 points from 12 matches.
Neroca thus suffered their second consecutive loss at home after their 0-2 defeat against Shillong Lajong on January 24.
Before the Shillong Lajong match, Neroca were on a nine- match unbeaten run but the two back-to-back loss would dealt a body blow to their title aspirations.
Just like in the earlier match against Shillong Lajong, Neroca had more possession and dominated large parts of the match but a goal eluded them once again. Even as some of the home supporters were making their way into the stadium, Neroca let in a goal in the third minute of the match with Chencho Gyeltshen firing home off a long throw in from the right.