Kathmandu: A 10-man Minerva Punjab were held to a 1-1 draw by Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club in a Group E tie of the AFC Cup here on Wednesday, a result which will severely dent their chances of making it to the next round of the tournament.
Thoiba Singh gave Minerva the lead in the 40th minute but Manang defender Oluwashina Azeez equalised in the 81st minute to deny the former I-League champions a win at the ANFA Complex here.
Minerva, who were denied by the woodwork twice in the first half, had to play with 10 men in the second half after losing Prateek Joshi to a red card just before the half-time whistle. This was Minerva’s fourth draw in as many matches and are still in search of their maiden win in an AFC Cup match.
With four points from as many matches, they need to win both their remaining group matches to stand in with a chance of advancing to the next round.
Manang, on the other hand, are virtually out of reckoning with two points – from two draws – from four matches.
Only the top side from the four-team group will make it to the the Inter-Zonal Play-off Semifinals. Manang began the match by starving Minerva of possession but the Indian side looked effective whenever they got a chance with the ball.
Samuel Lalmuanpuia was particularly impressive in the wings early on. His first attempt was thwarted by a diving tackle from Bishal Rai in the wings but in the eighth minute, he produced an impressive long range effort that came off the bar....