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Minerva Punjab crowned I-League champions



Panchkula, March 8: Minerva Punjab FC created history by defeating Churchill Brothers FC 1-0 to win their maiden I-League title on a nail-biting final day of the tournament here on Thursday.
William Opoku Asiedu scored the decisive goal in the 16th minute and the Punjab-based outfit held on to the advantage till the end.
Minerva thus became the first team from Punjab to win the title since the 1996-97 season when now defunct JCT claimed the inaugural National Football League (NFL), which was later re-christened as the I-League.
Minerva finished their campaign with 35 points from their full quota of 18 matches.
Top division debutants Neroca FC finished at the second spot with 32 points following a 1-1 draw with East Bengal in Kolkata.
Mohun Bagan meanwhile, took the third spot with 31 points after being held 1-1 by a spirited Gokulam Kerala FC in Kozhikode.
Mohun Bagan have accumulated the same number of points as East Bengal, but sit one spot above their arch-rivals due to a better head-to-head record courtesy their wins in both legs of the Kolkata derby. Mohun Bagan striker Asier Pierrick Dipanda Dicka finished as the highest scorer this season with 13 goals to his name.
Two-time champions Churchill Brothers, meanwhile, have been relegated. They finished second from bottom in the 10-team league ladder with a mere 17 points from their 18 matches. IANS