Gritty Minerva face Bengaluru test in Junior League final

CHANDIGARH:A confident Bengaluru FC will take on gritty Minerva Punjab in the Hero Junior League final at the Kalyani Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.

Chandigarh, May 28

A confident Bengaluru FC will take on gritty Minerva Punjab in the Hero Junior League final at the Kalyani Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The two sides have made their long journeys from Karnataka and Punjab, respectively, to make it a South versus North encounter in the eastern lands.

While Minerva beat Shillong Lajong in their semifinal clash, Bengaluru FC overcame Kerala Blasters FC in their last-four encounter.   

Bengaluru FC have been the most consistent team in the tournament so far. They have maintained a perfect record, winning all their 12 matches, including the zonal round.

Coached by Ajay Madhavrao Chorge, Bengaluru FC have scored an astounding 87 goals from 12 matches, and are yet to concede a single goal in the entire tournament. They have played an expansive game that saw the young Blues keep possession of the ball and break down defences, a philosophy which their gaffer is not ready to give up on. 

“We are not really thinking about our opponents or the fact that it is a final,” said Chorge. “For us, it’s just another game that we need to win.”

The BFC gaffer, who is a strong exponent of a passing game, believes that it is the process and not the outcome that is important for the youngsters at this level. “Minerva are a good side and we have analysed their game, but we want to play it according to our own style. I’ve told my players to play with a heart and believe in the process.” 

While the Blues mainly depend on their overall game-play to hunt down the opposition in packs, India U-16 International Bekey Oram has been a standout for them in this campaign. The forward from Odisha has scored seven times from 10 appearances in the campaign and will be looking to prove his mettle on Wednesday.

While Bengaluru FC have excelled throughout the tournament, Minerva Punjab have relied on their gritty display on crucial occasions to make it to the final. 

“Both teams are equally good in all sectors. Bengaluru FC are a good side and play good football. But we have also strategised for the game and will focus on our strengths to get the best result tomorrow,” said Minerva gaffer Harpreet Singh.

Minerva, however, is built around midfielder Maheson Singh, who has played a crucial role in their accession to the final. The India U-15 footballer has netted eight goals from seven appearances in the tournament so far. — TNS

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