DSK, Minerva to clash in Nike Cup final

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Panaji, Feb 7 (IANS) An interesting contest is on the cards as three-time finalists Minerva Punjab FC take on first-time finalists DSK Shivajians FC in the final of the Nike Premier Cup at the Bambolim Stadium here on Thursday.

A win for Minerva Punjab will give them a hat-trick of titles, having won the last two editions.

DSK Shivajians meanwhile would look to wrap their hands around the trophy for the first time.

The two teams had to take the tie-breaker route in the semi-finals as the Shivajians pipped Bengaluru FC while Minerva Punjab downed Aizawl FC.

And the two teams are prepared to give their everything in the final showdown.

“As in the semi-final, it won’t be that easy. It will be a good match to watch for the people who love this game. That is a boost for us also. And definitely, both teams would want to win it. We are preparing for tomorrow and show what we have,” a confident Minerva Punjab coach Harpreet Bedi said.

The Minerva youngsters put up a good show throughout the game against Aizawl and the coach feels it was their desire to fight until the end that got them through.

“It was pretty tight against Aizawl and the opportunity that our forwards were missing, it changed the feel of the game. In the end, they fought till the penalty shootout, I said to my players that it is not about luck and to keep their concentration and give hundred percent. And here we are,” Bedi added.

Meanwhile, DSK Shivajians are also thrilled to be in their first Nike Premier Cup final and they look back at how far they have got in this tournament.

“I have been watching Minerva and they are the toughest in the tournament and they have reached the final. The thinking of our boys is the same as they have been playing throughout the tournament. It’s been tough to play every game and match by match. But we have done it. Our boys have done well and we are positive about the match,” their coach Ramesh Bista said.

“Our strength is the bonding we have and playing as a team. The boys have done hard work and that is why they are here,” he added.

Interestingly, DSK Shivajians won 5-4 in penalties in the semi-finals while Minerva Punjab FC won 4-2 after both their games had ended 0-0. That is a scenario that both would be looking to avoid.

“We don’t want the game to go into penalties and finish the game before. Because you never know what happens in the shootout but we want to win it in the game. And we are planning to showcase some good football,” Bista said.

–IANS

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