Satdobato, Sankata secure victoriesSatdobato shock three-time champions Three Star 1-0 while Sankata fight back for a 2-1 victory over Friends.
Newcomers Satdobato Youth Club stunned three times champions Three Star Club 1-0 and Sankata overcame a first half deficit to edge Friends Club 2-1 in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday.
While it was their first top tier win for Satdobato, Sankata's debutant 'A' division coach Bishnu Gurung also tasted his first victory in the premier division league of the country. Both the winning teams also moved jointly on top of the table with four points from two matches. Three Star have three points and Friends one point after the second match.
In the day's early kick off between two Lalitpur-based sides, Satdobato, who had opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Friends, came up with a better show and played like a deserving winner.
Both the teams failed to make remarkable moves before Satdobato broke the deadlock in the 29th minute. Midfielder Sudip Gurung hit the target with a cool strike from the edge of the area taking his time after he collected a cut back pass from Nigerian forward Ajayi Martins.
Three-time champions Three Star, who had pulled a 3-0 win over Chyasal in their opener, responded eight minutes later after forward Ritik Kumar Khadka unleashed a 25 yarder forcing Satdobato goalie Abishek Baral into a punching save. In the resulting corner Nepali international and Three Star defender Ananta Tamang flick-headed wide from the crowded zone.
Satdobato's Niraj Chaudhary's close range strike at the near post was blocked by Three Star's Cameroonian glovesman Priso Njang in the mid second half. Satdobato threatened yet again in the 72nd when their Nigerian forward ended up applying a feeble shot from tight angle fed by Akash Budha Magar providing an easy opportunity for goalie Njang to grab it.
Three Star's first threatening move of the second half came in the 82nd when captain Bikram Lama's header from the box sailed inches above the bar in Nishan Khadka's corner. Satdobato came closer to scoring yet again in the fading moments before Martins was denied in one-on-one situation by goalie Njang.
Satdobato's veteran coach Meghraj KC lauded his team's performance. "The team worked really hard and played well. We were the better side in terms of creating opportunities as we got more than half a dozen of scoring chances. But we need to improve our finishing," said KC.
His Three Star counterpart Urjan Shrestha pointed out flaws in the midfield and attacking departments. "We could not start with midfielder Hemanta (Thapa Magar) due to illness. There were a lot of mispasses and we also had problems in the attacking department. We need a striker to fulfill the gap. We will sign a foreigner striker," said Shrestha.
In the late fixture, skipper Prakash Budhathoki scored a wonder goal in the first half for Friends, who led the game against the run of play. Sankata, who were held to a 1-1 draw against Himalayan Sherpa in their last match, scored in the second half through Niraj Basnet and Fode Fofana to seal the victory.
"It was a very tough match, but the boys executed the game plan properly," said Sankata coach Bishnu Gurung after the match who witnessed his first match as the coach of 'A' division team. "We had come into the game with clear plans of three points and the boys fulfilled their duty properly despite conceding first."
As told by coach Gurung, Sankata were a better side and made more attempts at goal. Sankata threatened in the 12th minute forcing Friends' Indian goalie Rahul Ramchandra Yadav for two successive saves. Yadav first parried Guinean forward Fode Fofana's strike and the ball fell on the way to Jordan Junior Owona who fired at the post calling the custodian into quick action to prevent it.
Sankata's Suvash Gurung wasted a sitter at the stroke of half time. The forward ended up shooting wide from a close range with only goalie Yadav as his obstacle after Jaya Gurung laid an acute pass for him inside the area.
But it were Friends who opened the scoring three minutes before the interval with a superb strike from skipper Budhathoki. The winger's right flank strike at the far post entered the net after smashing the upright.
Goalie Yadav again rescued Friends with two quick saves three minutes later. He blocked Laxman Ruchal's freekick in the first attempt and again punched the winger's goal-bound volley to safety.
Sankata's Niraj Basnet restored parity in the 57th as the unmarked defender was allowed a free header to convert Suvash Gurung’s corner. Forward Fofana came closer to scoring in the 71st for Sankata when he smashed at right top from the area forcing goalie Yadav to make a fingertip save. Budhathoki replied for Friends a minute later in counterattack as he applied a scorcher from close range only for goalie Raju Babu Thapa to block it.
Fofana restored Sankata's cushion three minutes before time with a well taken semi-volley strike from the area after controlling Owona's short pass set.