Army go top after win over Police in tense battleIn the clash of departmental teams, Tribhuvan Army beat Nepal Police 4-2 in pursuit of their maiden title.
Tribhuvan Army Club came back from behind twice for a 4-2 win over Nepal Police in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League on Sunday.
The victory in their 10th match of the season saw the Army reclaim the top position, one point clear of Machhindra who have 22 points, while defending champions are third with 19 points and a game in hand.
Police drew the first blood as Buddha Bal Tamang put them ahead in the 20th minute. Army custodian Bikesh Kuthu's effort to save Tamang's header on a freekick from captain Nir Kumar Rai went in vain as the title aspirants found themselves behind. However, the Army then appeared rejuvenated and found themselves on level terms through Suman Aryal 14 minutes later. Aryal headed home from close range on a freekick taken by Santosh Tamang.
After the first half ended in a 1-1 stalemate, the action-packed second half witnessed four goals. Police found themselves ahead for the second time in the match in the 58th minute through man Bahadur Pariyar. It was another header yet again as Man Bahadur Pariyar converted in Rai's corner.
Nawayug Shrestha revived Army's hopes in the 77th minute as he scored the fourth headed goal to level the match at 2-2. Army then capitalised on their momentum and led for the first time in the match in the 85th minute as Shrestha found himself on the scoresheet yet again. The forward powerful left-footed shot from the edge of the area landed straight into the right bottom corner.
Sudil Rai, who was introduced as a substitute, then extended Army's cushion to two goals. His strong effort a minute before the regulation 90 minutes ensured Army avoided a mishap in their maiden title chase.
Police coach Ananta Raj Thapa appreciated his team's performance despite the defeat, "We played for three points and scored as well. The players displayed an improved performance and if we can give continuity to this level of football, we can finish among the top six."
Nabin Neupane, the Army coach, attributed his side's temperament and persistence for the win, "Despite conceding early and finding ourself behind twice in the match, the boys did not give up. That mindset helped us win."
"We wasted several chances in the first half and our second goal probably was the turning point," Neupane said, "Our boys want to win the title and the approach they showed today can help us become the champions."
Earlier in the day, Sankata earned a narrow 1-0 win over Himalayan Sherpa with a solitary first-half goal from Ajaya martins Kayode.
The Nigerian forward was well placed inside the area to head in the cross served by Kshitiz Raj GT in the 21st minute. Both the sides had a few chances thereafter but failed to find the back of the net.
Sherpa coach Sanjib Budhathoki admitted that it had now become difficult for his team to avoid relegation, "We need the least of four points from three matches to protect ourselves."
Bijay Maharjan, the Sankata coach, was impressed with younger players of his team, "We are happy with the three points and the way the boys who previously had limited chances in the league."
Following today's result, Sankata are placed sixth in the standings with 15 points while Sherpa find themselves languishing at 12th position with seven points from 10 matches, only two ahead of Armed Police at 13th and three more than bottom-placed Saraswoti Youth. The lowest placed team after completion of 13 rounds will be relegated from the league this season.
Jawalakhel vs Brigade Boys 1130 NST
Manang vs Chyasal Youth 1500 NST
Venue: ANFA Complex, Satdobato