Khawas late goal gives Army first victoryThe captain scores five minutes from time as the departmental team overcome Brigade Boys 1-0 to go joint third with Sankata on five points.
A late goal from captain Bharat Khawas gave Tribhuvan Army FC first victory as they toiled hard to beat Brigade Boys Club 1-0 in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar on Sunday.
The striker scored the decider five minutes from time as the departmental team netted their second goal of the league campaign in the third match. The goal also eased pressure on Khawas, who has been struggling for goal lately.
The victory also lifted the departmental team, the runners up of the last edition, to a joint third position with Sankata Club at five points. They had drawn the first match 1-1 against Nepal Police Club and 0-0 against champions Machhindra Club.
Brigade are joint fifth with four points after a win, draw and defeat. Satdobato Youth Club and Manang Marshyangdi Club lead the standings with seven points each.
"The three points were vital for us today to revive our title challenge. Now we can challenge the top team and play for the title," said Army coach Nabin Neupane.
Though the first half looked a drab affair with only a couple of attempts on goal, Army dominated the second half. In the early moments of the first half, Brigade Boys' Rudy Mbakop's strike from the edge of the area was easily grabbed by goalie Bikesh Kuthu. Khawas header in the late second half in midfielder Santosh Tamang's corner sailed high above the bar..
Army piled consistent pressure in the second half and they came closer to scoring at the stroke of an hour only for Brigade Boys defender Manoj Rai to head and defend Bibek Basnet's cross just ahead from the goalline. Moments later Army winger Tek Bahadur Budathoki's strike sailed above the bar.
Army's pressure was rewarded in the 85th through captain Khawas who found a long pass from the center set by Santosh Tamang. He beat the opponent defender with his pace and fired a low strike past goalie Purna Limbu Chemjong nearly from the penalty spot. They threatened again in the fading moments before Chemjong came to the rescue of Brigade Boys, denying a close range effort by Tanka Basnet. Army defender Bibek Basnet also smashed at the bar in the stoppage time.
Despite winning the match, Army coach Neupane pointed out weaknesses in the striking lineup. "Our attacking department is weak and we are unable to get deserving scores despite creating frequent chances. We will work even harder and play with high intensity," said Neupane, adding that the good thing about the game was that they scored from the striker.
Brigade Boys coach Sanoj Shrestha said that it was an evenly contested game. "The defenders thought it was an offside so they waited for the whistle and we conceded the goal. But the players worked really hard," said Shrestha. "Army are a strong team and we had come thinking even a draw against them would not be a bad outcome. But it was misfortunate to concede a late goal."
The last two games of the third rounds will be played on Tuesday.