Minerva Academy got a thumping 4-0 win over La Liga HPC in the final match of the Mina Cup 2022 to become as U-12 champions in Dubai on Monday, 11 April.
La Liga HPC and Minerva had faced each other earlier in the group stage, with India’s team coming out on top.
Minerva’s foremost chance came early in the game, as Thiyam had gone away down the side of its defence, but rather than going for a shot, he tried to cut it back for another teammate, and the opportunity fizzled out.
Minerva opened up scoring during the 13th minute of the game through their most probable source.
A throw-in below the left led to a bit of a scramble in the box, but the fastest to respond was Thiyam, who threw the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0.
Thiyam was certainly unbeatable as he scored in the very next minute again. After two goals by Minerva, La Liga HPC got hassled, and Minerva took the opportunity to open against them again. The ball was passed to Thiyam in a similar position to where he scored his first goal. He took a slight touch and slotted it into the base corner.
It was looking very easy for the team from India, who stayed onto their two-goal lead through longer periods of the game.
Again it was Thiyam who gave the third and his hat-trick goal. The ball fell outside the box for him, and he put his foot through it to locate the bottom corner.
With the trophy in the hand, there was still time left to make another goal, which came in stoppage time. It was a great move down the right, topped with Jayed getting a tap-in, which he put away to make it 4-0.
Minerva Academy got the victory and the 2022 Mina Cup trophy with that. Thiyam was regarded as the tournament player, as was the only one with the highest score in the game, scoring an amazing 12 goals in five matches.
It is the first time ever in Indian football history that a U-12 team has won an international match. It is also the very first time that an Indian team has won an international tournament outside their country in the last ten years.
During the semi-finals, Minerva Academy won over Dubai City Football Club 3-0, courtesy of Thiyam’s three goals.
Minerva Academy scored 19 goals in five games without conceding even a single one.
Reliance Foundation, the only other team from India, competing in the Mina Cup under the U-16 category, lost in the semi-final stage to Go Pro Sports. The same team Minerva Academy defeated 6-0 in the group stage’s age category.