Basnet header fires Sankata to victoryThe defender makes a diving header to score decisive goal in the 18th minute in a 1-0 win over Nepal Police Club.
A sensational heading goal by defender Niraj Basnet gave Sankata Club 1-0 victory over Nepal Police Club as they climbed to joint third position at the completion of the fourth round of the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar on Monday.
Basnet made a diving header in the 18th minute to score the all important goal in winger Laxman Ruchal’s cross. With his third league goal, Basnet joined Satdobato's forward Ajayi Martins and Machhindra's Sunil Bal atop the scorer chart. Coincidentally, it also turned out to be the 50th goal of the league.
"Basnet is a talented player and he has a great future. He is one of the best players of our team and I think this is his third goal in the league," said Sankata coach Bishnu Gurung of his scorer.
With their second victory, unbeaten Sankata climbed two spots up to third and joined Tribhuvan Army FC on eight points. They trailed joint leaders Machhindra Club and Manang Marshyangdi Club by two points. They are the only four unbeaten teams in the league
Sankata came up with an attacking intent and piled consistent pressure since the onset. They made nearly half a dozen attempts on goal in the first 20 minutes. They thought that they opened scoring as early as in the 13th minute when Cameroonian forward Jordan Junior Owona headed Jaya Gurung's freekick from the crowded zone after captain Ravi Silwal set for him with a header. But Police goalie Roshan Khadka made a diving save to deny it.
But the pressure was rewarded five minutes later from defender Basnet. Sankata came up with a cautious approach after getting on the scoresheet and held on for the lead until the final whistle.
"Once we scored the goal, we gave more focus on saving the points. Today the game went the way we wanted it. I am happy to get my second victory as a coach," said coach Gurung.
Police replied in the mid first half as forward Suman Lama's strike from the edge of the area went straight to goalie Raja Babu Thapa's hand after Tej Tamang set him with a short freekick. Police came closer to leveling the scores at the stroke of halftime but goalie Thapa again rescued Sankata as he reacted quickly to deny Lama's close range effort.
After the restart, Police piled more pressure on Sankata's post but they failed to make a remarkable attempt on goal though the departmental team coach Ananta Raj Thapa made three changes. He brought in veteran winger Bhola Silwal and forwards Bharat Shah and Tirtha Bahadur Rana at the start of the second half.
In the early second half, Sankata forward Suvash Gurung's flick header in Saroj Dahal's cross missed the target by inches.
Police coach Ananta Raj Thapa said that losing the point against Sankata could turn expensive for his side. "Reputed players failed to deliver and losing the points could become expensive for us," said Thapa. "Star players need to have a professional attitude," he said, expressing frustrations at forward Suman Lama’s failure to follow his instructions.
Jawalakhel drawn with Brigade
Jawalakhel Youth Club earned their first draw in the fourth round as they shared spoils with Brigade Boys Club with a 0-0 draw in the late fixture at the Dasharath Stadium.
Jawalakhel came into the match searching for their first victory and point. But they failed to materialise their ambition despite dominating the game.
The outcome meant Jawalakhel earned first point at the completion of the fourth match and climbed one spot up to second from bottom replacing APF FC. However, both APF and Jawalakhel have one point each and are languishing in the relegation zone as bottom two sides will be dropped to second division at the completion of the 14-team contest. Brigade Boys are joint sixth with five points
Despite earning the point, Jawalakhel coach Kishor KC expressed dissatisfaction with the referee's decision. "I am happy that we opened account with a point. But there are many flaws on the part of the referee," fumed Jawalakhel coach Kishor KC. "Such level of referees can't contribute to the development of the game. Though there are FIFA referees, they are not officiating matches. Maybe this could be a conspiracy by ANFA."
"I am not just commenting on today's match but there are lots of drama. I normally don't comment on the referee's decisions. But I could not stop myself," said KC adding, the opponents came with one-point ambition.
His Brigade Boys counterpart Sanoj Shrestha also expressed dissatisfaction with the referee's decision. "The referees are not up to the mark to officiate 'A' division games," he said, adding that they came under pressure in the first half but the second half was evenly contested.
The fifth round of the league begins Friday.