I-League: Minerva Punjab escape relegation with 4-4 draw vs Shivajians

Indo Asian News Service

Pune, April 30 (IANS) Minerva Punjab FC scored four second-half goals, including one in stoppage time, as they held DSK Shivajians 4-4 to escape relegation from I-League football championship here on Sunday.

With the game finishing at 4-4, big North Korean striker Kim Song Yong scored twice, while Juan Quero and debutant Vanlalremkima scored for the home side. At the other end, Girik Khosla scored twice while Victor Amobi and Simranjeet Singh levelled the score at the death.

At the end of 18 matches each, both Minerva and Mumbai FC have 13 points but the former finished ninth thanks to better goal difference. Shivajians are seventh with 18 points from as many matches.

Coming into the match, Shivajians had not much at stake and they got off to a flying start as Kim Song Yong beat the offside trap to put it past an unprotected Arshdeep Singh in the 11th minute.

The North Korean striker doubled Shivajians' advantage in the 40th minute. One minute later, the hosts got a 3-0 lead as captain Juan Quero scored his third of the season moments later from the edge of the box.

Minerva, however, changed the script in the second half. Khosla converted a penalty which was awarded due to Gouramangi Singh having handled the ball inside the box.

With Holicharan Narzary and Chhangte coming close, it was the Punjabi lad Khosla who doubled his and Minerva's tally on the 66th minute off a quick counter attack.

Down 2-3, Minerva's attempts at staging a comeback were seemingly put to rest by Vanlalremkima who capitalised on a loose ball inside the box in the 79th minute to double his side's advantage.

Victor Amobi was to, however play party pooper for Shivajians, capitalising on a similar defensive lapse at the other end.

With ten minutes to go, both sides had their work cut out. While Seityasen Singh came close, producing a world class save by Arshdeep Singh, it was Simranjeet Singh who rained on the DSK Shivajians' parade, scoring with what was virtually the last kick of the game, completing a remarkable comeback.

--IANS

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