Guwahati's Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium will host the two remaining home games of the I-League club Minerva Punjab in the ongoing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup. Minerva’s home games to be played in the north-eastern city are against Chennaiyin FC on June 19 and Abahani Dhaka on June 26.
After a lot of speculations and discussions, Minerva Punjab has finally declared that their remaining two home games against ISL club Chennaiyin FC and Bangladesh’s Abahani Dhaka will be played in Guwahati, Assam. Club owner Ranjit Bajaj has clarified the news to Sportstar on Wednesday that they have finally decided Guwahati as their adopted home ground for the remaining AFC Cup home games.
“We will be playing our two remaining home matches at Guwahati. We don't require an inspection because the venue was used as a home stadium by Aizawl FC for the AFC Cup last year,” Bajaj told Sportstar.
The former I-League club was granted permission only to play their first home game against Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. The stadium in Odisha that hosted the Super Cup will now undergo renovation for the upcoming FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India next year. The Punjab-based club also looked at other options like Goa's Fatorda Stadium, Pune's Balewadi Stadium and Delhi's JLN Stadium for their second and third home matches.
The Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati is the home ground of Indian Super League club NorthEast United FC and had also hosted the AFC Cup matches of Aizwal FC earlier. It was also one of the venues during the 2017 FIFA U-17 men's World Cup. Currently third in Group E, Minerva Punjab will have to pay around Rs 4 lakh to host both the games in Guwahati.
The 2017-18 I League champions have played three draws against Chennaiyin FC, Abahani Dhaka and Manang Marshyangdi Club. They will now take on Manang Marshyangdi Club in an away game on May 15 before playing the home matches in Assam against Chennaiyin FC and Abahani Dhaka on June 19 and June 26 respectively.
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