Minerva Punjab continued to play draw in the AFC Cup as their Group E match against Chennaiyin FC ended in a 1-1 draw at its adopted ‘home’ venue in Guwahati on Wednesday.
Though it was Minerva which drew the first blood in the 62nd minute through Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Chennaiyin equalised the score line in the 90th minute in the match played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium at Sarusajai Sports Complex.
With this draw which is five in a row, Minerva has set the record to play maximum number of draws in the current season of the AFC Cup.
After this match Chennaiyin FC, with 2 wins and 2 draws from five outings, have moved to the top of the table with 8 points. They have lost one match against Abahani Dhaka.
Meanwhile, Minerva Punjab has 5 points from as many as games.
The match started in a hot and humid atmosphere in Guwahati in an almost empty stadium. In the 5th minute, Minerva got a set back as their number one goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh had to be sent to hospital after collision with CK Vineeth near the box who was shown the yellow card by the Lebanon referee Hussein Abo Yehia.
After a goalless first-half where both the teams had their share of opportunities, Minerva got the first break in the 62nd minute when Samuel’s right footed shot from outside the box entered the post through the bottom right corner.
As the match was heading towards the end, Mohammed Rafi’s left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner beat the Minerva’s goalkeeper to equalize the score.
Minerva coach Sachin Tanji Badadhe said that Arshdeep sustained injuries in his nose and forehead area. He is likely to have a surgery on Thursday.
Though Minerva is at the third position, Sachin is hopeful of making it to the next level. Though, it was the ‘home’ venue for Minerva, with a good number of players from both the sides from Mizoram and Manipur, it was like a home game for the both.