March 08 (ANI): All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday, in a statement, confirmed that they are looking into the matter of improper approach to the members of Minerva Football Club (FC) by a rival team, before the final day of the I-League.
East Bengal have now slipped to fourth (30 points) behind leaders Minerva Punjab FC (32), Neroca FC (31) and Mohun Bagan (30) - all of them in title hunt, and play their respective matches at the 3pm on Thursday. But for Minerva the equation was simple: win the last game and take the I-League 2017-18 trophy home.
Bagan, who started the final matchday tied at the third spot with East Bengal on 30 points, made a dominant start to their match against Gokulam FC in Kozhikode.
Asier Pierrick Dipanda of Cameroon finished top scorer of the league with his 12 goals for Mohun Bagan, including one on the final day.
This is a landmark moment in Indian football where two relegation threatened teams have won back to back I-League titles.
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THE ONUS to win the title was on Minerva Punjab FC, not for first time though. The Punjab outfit who are into their second season in the Indian top flight downed Churchill Brothers to script a fantastic title run. Their remarkable triumph earned them deserving praises from the Indian football fraternity with the club and the players taking it to social media to congratulate the Indian champions.
Minerva started the first half well and the attacking trio of Chencho, William and Girik combined really well to put Churchill's defence in jeopardy. Chencho nearly scored the match's opener in 8th minute when a low Girik Khosla cross wasn't dealt with properly by Monday which gave Chencho a chance but he couldn't make full use of it.
The goal came in the 16th minute when William converted from point blank range after a rebound of Khosla's shot, which fell right at his feet.
In the 65th minute, Britto missed the opportunity of the match so far when he went one on one with the keeper Kiran but Minerva shot stopper came out quickly to save his side. Should Bagan and East Bengal win and Minerva manage just a draw, these three will find themselves level at 33 points each.
With just one loss at home all season, East Bengal will need to keep that record intact against second-placed Neroca for any shot at the title.
Dudu Omagbemi of East Bengal (in white) in action against Minerva Punjab during an I-League match in February.