Minerva Punjab win their maiden I-League title
After Aizawl FC's heroics last season, Minerva Punjab FC won their maiden I-League title. The northern club peaked to glory in the AIFF-backed league this season. They beat Churchill Brothers 1-0 to finish atop. The champions finished the season with 35 points from 18 matches. Minerva finished three points above 2nd placed NEROCA. Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal followed suit.
Minerva scripted a fairytale after going into today's game knowing that they needed to win at any cost. William Opoku's first-half strike handed Minerva the win against Churchill. NEROCA needed Minerva to lose and win their own tie against East Bengal, which too were in the same position and that game ended at 1-1. Third placed Mohun Bagan drew 1-1 against Gokulam FC.
Minerva became the 2nd Punjab side to win the top prize after JCT won the inaugural National Football League (NFL) in 1996-97. Minerva are only in their second year in top-plight football. They finished second last in I-League last season.
Kolkata clubs Mohun Bagan and East Bengal missed out on the trophy yet again despite coming close. Both outfits needed other results to go their way and luck wasn't on their side. East Bengal haven't won the league since 2004. Bagan last won in 2014-15.