Kiran’s club Minerva Punjab FC beat Churchill Brothers 1-0 in their final I-League game in Panchkula on Thursday to claim the title. Khogen Singh’s side, who are only in their second season in Indian football’s top-flight league, emerged on top of what was a four-way race between them, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and NEROCA FC. Either of the four sides could have won the title had certain results played out differently but it was the only North Indian side in the tournament who got the job done. Gokulam Kerala drew 1-1 with Mohun Bagan whilst East Benga;l held NEROCA to a 1-1 draw. Get highlights of Minerva Punjab FC vs Churchill Brothers.
The side from Chandigarh accumulated 35 points from 18 games to be crowned India’s champions. The title was sealed on the final matchday after Minerva overcame Churchill Brothers 1-0 at home on Thursday.
Winger Chencho Gyeltshen and striker William Opoku all played important roles in their title win in only their second season in India’s top-tier.
The Ranjit Bajaj-owned side should have won the title much earlier but a slump in form meant they had to wait until the final day.
Minerva Punjab become the first side from Punjab to win the league in 21 years, since JCT’s title victory in 1996-97. They will now represent India in the 2019 AFC Champions League preliminary play-offs.