Chyasal stun holders Manang 2-0Jawalakhel Youth Club climb up to sixth place after a narrow 1-0 win over Brigade Boys.
Holders Manang Marshyangdi Club suffered a major setback to their title defense following a shock 2-0 defeat to Chyasal Youth Club in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League on Monday.
The loss saw Manang waste their opportunity to close in on the league leaders Army. The departmental team have 23 points from 10 matches, a point ahead of second-placed Machhindra and four clear of Manang.
Following an end-to-end beginning to the match, it was Taiga Nakamura who put Chyasal ahead with a stunning freekick in the 24th minute. Both sides had their fair share of opportunities in the remaining period of the first half, but neither could capitalise on them and Chyasal took their slender lead into the break.
Manang returned with much aggression and made several attempts to find an equaliser, but Chyasal defenders held firm.
Chyasal coach Bal Gopal Sahukhala, who appeared discontent with officials’ decisions, was booked for offensive language in the 79th minute. And the referee sent off Sahukhala moments before the regulation time when he crossed the line again. Four minutes into the added time, his brother and former Nepal forward Santosh Sahukhala doubled Chyasal's lead. After collecting a defence-splitting pass from Nakamura, the striker put it away with calm.
The goal deflated Manang as they were condemned to their first defeat of the season. Their coach Dhaneshwor Prajapati conceded that it would all be an uphill journey now to retain the title.
"Despite creating opportunities, we failed to convert them which has left us behind in the title race," Prajapati said. "We will now put all our focus towards winning the remaining three matches."
Chyasal team manager Shankar Byanjankar, on the other hand, was a relieved man as his side emerged out of the relegation zone. "We played with a winning mentality against Manang. The boys did well to execute our strategy. These precious three points have ensured our safety from the drop," he added. “Our aim now is to seal a top-six spot.”
Earlier, a first-half goal from Sujit Budhathoki secured Jawalakhel Youth a 1-0 win over Brigade Boys. The Jawalakhel side are now sixth in the standings with 15 points, while Brigade Boys are 11th with eight points.
NRT vs Friends 1500 NST
Venue: ANFA Complex, Satdobato