Champions Machhindra, Army share spoilsMachhindra and the departmental team play 0-0 draw while NRT and Brigade Boys also settle for a goalless draw.
Defending champions Machhindra Club and runners-up Tribhuvan Army FC shared the spoils playing a 0-0 draw while Brigade Boys Club and New Road Team also settled for a goalless draw in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division Football League at the Dasharath Stadium on Monday.
The outcome at the completion of the second round meant, Machhindra are jointly in second place with four points along with Brigade, Sankata Club, Nepal Police Club and Satdobato Youth Club. Manang Marshyangdi Club lead the table with six points.
Army, who came into match for first win after playing 1-1 draw against Police in the last game, are ninth with two points while NRT opened scoring with the draw and are in 12th position.
The star-studded Machhindra, who had edged NRT 2-1 in their last game, and Army both failed in the finishing department despite creating some scoring opportunities.
Machhindra coach Prabesh Katuwal said that they failed in scoring due to absence of proper strike in the team. "It was a vital match and a kind of game which could have determined a path to the final. We had come with a three points’ ambition but failed to play as per the game plan," said Katuwal.
"We do not have a proper striker. Bimal (Gharti Magar) is not fully fit. Avishek Rijal does well in the training, but he is struggling in the match. Army are a strong and fit team. It is difficult for every team to play against Army," said Katuwal.
In the 10th, Machhindra's Nigerian defender Omolaja Kareem's freekick sailed inches wide. In the mid first half, Army goalie Bikesh Kuthu spilled Azerbaijani forward Norlan Nvruzov's backheel strike and Sunil Bal's second attempt on goal was cleared by Santosh Tamang just ahead of the goalline.
In the 66th, Machhindra skipper Sujal Shrestha fired off the target in Bishal Rai corner
Army coach Nabin Neupane stressed the need for improvement in the attacking department. "It was a crucial game and we were able to play as per our plans in the defending lineup. But there were too many problems in attacking departments," said Neupane while he rued the absence of their star forward Nawayug Shrestha ruled out for the entire season due to knee injury.
"We had played for three points as our only target is title. But the outcome could be a big setback in our title ambition. There are also injury problems in the team."
In the early kickoff, NRT looked a better side but they failed in the scoring department. NRT threatened in the 19th minute when Darshan Gurung unleashed a powerful strike from close range only for Brigade goalie Purna Limbu Chemjong to thwart it.
NRT came closer to scoring in the 43rd when forward Ranjan Bista failed to connect Cameroonian forward Setphane Binong cross just ahead of the goalline.
BBC's first threatening move came five minutes into the restart only for midfielder Dinesh Rai to fire above the bar from the left side of the area. In the 79th Sishir Lekhi's freekick for NRT was blocked by goalie Ajit Prajapati from just under the bar.
Brigade could have walked away with full points in the stoppage time before their Cameroonian forward Rudy Mbakot was denied by NRT custodian and captain Prajapati in a one-on-one situation.
NRT's assistant coach Jeevan Sinkeman said that his side failed to execute the plan and meet the expectations. "Our planning was to keep the ball possession but we failed in that and also played a lot of mispasses," said Sinkeman adding that his team members have not been able to communicate well in the game.
Brigade coach Sanoj Shrestha said that his team could not set properly in the first half. "We corrected it after the interval and it was an evenly contested affair. Both the teams failed in the scoring department," said Shrestha. "Many first choice players were injured and their replacements could not play well."