William Opoku Asiedu struck twice as Minerva Punjab FC blanked Indian 2-0 in a hard-fought I-League match here on Tuesday. Asiedu (7th, 84th minutes) scored once in each half to help Minerva quell a strong challenge from the youngsters in the Indian Arrows line-up. Minerva thus climbed to the top of the league table with seven points from three matches. The Arrows are fourth with three points from two matches. Before the home side could even settle down, Minerva made their intentions clear thanks to a wonder goal from William.
The goal originated from a throw-in down the left. A long throw from Sukhdev Singh into the box was met with a weak clearance from Arrows right-back Boris Singh as it fell kindly to Girik Khosla. With no one closing him down outside the box, Khosla laid it down for William Opoku who unleashed a rocket of a shot from nearly 40 yards out. Arrows keeper Dheeraj Singh could do nothing as the ball drilled into the net past his outstretched right hand.
Meanwhile, the Minerva defence didn’t give the Arrows attackers a sniff at goal but Arrows were slowly growing into the game. And the first telling goal-scoring opportunity for Arrows saw striker Edmund Lalrindika releasing Abhijit Sarkar with a perfectly weighted ball. Sarkar tried a first-time shot but it lacked power or precision as it bounced slowly into the arms of Rakshit Dagar. It was the only noteworthy chance for the Arrows who were otherwise subdued.
Minerva started the second half, in the same way, they started the first – by putting Arrows under pressure. But Arrows regrouped and started going forward. And they had an opportunity when Minerva conceded an indirect free-kick when Sukhdev Singh lobbed a ball back to the goalkeeper who collected it with his hands down the left channel close to the touchline. Stalin slipped a pass into the centre to Sarkar whose steered shot was easily collected by Rakshit in the 69th minute. Edmund was a livewire and created two excellent goal-scoring opportunities. One cross from the left and then from the right missed Rahul and Sarkar respectively.
Minerva Punjab should have been 2-0 up when a misunderstanding between Dheeraj and Deepak saw Opoku pounce on it as he rounded Deepak and tried to shoot into an open goal after Dheeraj couldn’t make his way back to goal. But to Opoku’s dismay, the ball hit the post before the danger was cleared. But the Arrows could do nothing when Opoku showed his predatory skills and Checho found Opoku in the six-yard box as the Ghanaian scored his second of the night.