The playoff round in the newly branded AIFF Hero Elite League (U-18 Youth League) is taking place at Navelim Ground in Goa.
Minerva Punjab FC U-18s, the champions of the Punjab Zone, are placed in the Playoff Group A along with Real Kashmir FC, FC Mangalore, MSP Football Academy and Kahaani Football Club.
Minerva Punjab FC started its campaign against Real Kashmir FC on January 15. The game ended on stalemate at 0-0. Minerva Punjab FC dominated the games with many good chances but couldn’t manage to score. In the end they had to be satisfied with a one point.
On January 17, Minerva Punjab FC took on Kahaani FC from Ahmedabad. Minerva Punjab FC made their intentions very clear with Thoiba scoring a goal in the 3rd minute. Kahaani FC had no response to continous attacking football displayed by Minerva Punjab FC. With two goals from Thoiba (3′,75′), two from Suraj(48′,71′) and Chote scoring in the 80th minute, Minerva Punjab FC comfortably won the match with a 5-0 scoreline.
In their 3rd match, Minerva Punjab FC took on MSP Football Academy on January 19. The match started with a hard fought first 30 minutes. However, Abhishek scored a beautiful goal in the 38th minute to give Minerva Punjab FC the lead in the first half. The second half started with more intense approach from Minerva Punjab FC which resulted in a clean strike from Lunitinmang to make it 2-0. Denzil made sure the three points are in a bag with a wonderful solo goal in the 68th minute. The match finished at 3-0.
With two back to back wins, Minerva Punjab FC is a strong contender to qualify into finals from Group A. Also, Minerva Punjab FC is still unbeaten from their zonal qualifiers. They stand at the top of the Group A table with one more match to be played.
Minerva Punjab FC will take on FC Mangalore in their final fixture on January 23. They will hope to continue winning and topping the group along with qualifying for the Finals which will be held in Goa post the playoffs.