Bista-inspired MMC open two-point lead at topThe captain scores twice in a 3-1 win over Police, Jawalakhel defeat Chyasal 1-0 to pull off first victory while Three Star and NRT settle for a 0-0 draw.
Captain Anjan Bista inspired Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) to a 3-1 victory over Nepal Police Club as they opened a two-point lead in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League standings to strengthen their bid for the AFC Cup at Pokhara Stadium on Saturday.
In the first ever 'A' Division league match played outside the capital city, Nepali international winger Bista struck at both ends as MMC, who adopted Pokhara Stadium as their home ground, took advantage of the mistakes of champions Machhindra Club and the third-placed Tribhuvan Army Club — both held to draws on Friday. Substitute Nishan Limbu netted the third for MMC while Suman Lama struck for Police through penalty.
With the victory over Police, MMC replaced Machhindra from the summit with 13 points from five matches. Machhindra have 11 points and Army nine points after equal matches. The team securing pole position at the end of the seventh round would be eligible to compete in the AFC Cup, the second-tier inter-country club championship of Asia.
MMC and Machhindra will vie in the sixth round while the seventh round of action will see MMC taking on Brigade Boys Club and Machhindra jousting against Police.
Bista broke deadlock for MMC as early as the 10th minute, capitalising on an error from Police goalie Roshan Khadka. Bista made an easy tapping after a long pass from Nepali international defender Dinesh Rajbanshi sailed over an advancing goalie Khadka, providing an easy opportunity for Bista to tap it into the unguarded net.
The departmental team bounced back in the 36th through a spotkick after MMC defender Saroj Yonjan fouled forward Nir Kumar Rai inside the area. Forward Suman Lama converted the penalty, scoring his third league goal. MMC came closer to scoring three minutes later but Nigerian forward Olawale Afeez headed above the bar in Pujan Uperkoti's corner.
MMC, backed by roaring home supporters, restored the lead in the 73rd with a clever freekick from Bista who slammed a low ball from the edge of the area past the defence wall. MMC were awarded a free kick after defender Santosh Hemran handed the ball.
Nishan Limbu, the 60th minute replacement of Adelaja Somide, sealed the victory with the third goal in the 83rd minute. The forward quickly struck after goalie Khadka spilled Afeez's strike before Limbu fired home.
Jawalakhel pull off their first victory
Jawalakhel Youth Club finally ended their winless run as they grabbed their first league victory defeating Chyasal Youth Club 1-0 at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar.
Indian midfielder Nicholas Fernandes scored the all important goal in the first half for Jawalakhel. Unmarked Fernandes easily converted Onguna Junior's pass to the delight of Jawalakhel fans. It was also Jawalakhel’s first goal of the league.
The much required win lifted Jawalakhel out of the relegation zone, three spots up to 10th place with four points. Chyasal, who lost their game in a row, also have four points from equal five games.
Jawalakhel's veteran coach Kishor KC said that the first win would definitely ease pressure on his side. "The first win would boost the morale of the team. We failed to score in the previous matches but getting a score would be helpful in changing the mentality of players that they are capable of scoring," said KC.
He also said that it was too early to predict which team would be relegated. "I don't think we are a team likely to be relegated. But it would be too early to make a prediction before seven rounds of play. Hope we will play better in upcoming games," added KC.
Chyasal coach Bal Gopal Sahukhala said that his side failed to perform in a vital clash. "The game was important for both teams, but we conceded due to our own mistakes. The commitment of players is also getting low and we could have done much better," he said.
Three Star, NRT share spoils
Three times champions Three Star Club and New Road Team (NRT) played to a 0-0 draw in the late fixture of the day at Dasharath Stadium.
Three Star, without a victory for the fourth straight game, are joint sixth in the standings along with NRT on six points. Three Star have gone winless since a 3-0 victory over Chyasal Youth Club in their opening match and have drawn theirlast three games.
Three Star's best chance of the match came in the 21st minute but striker Bijay Bhujel shot wide in a one-on-one situation with Njanga Priso. They threatened yet again at the stroke of half hour but NRT goalie Ajit Prajapati punched Ashok Khawas' strike to safety.
NRT's Messouke Oloumou threatened deep in the second half after beating two NRT defenders before firing inches wide from a tight angle.
Himalayan Sherpa vs Brigade Boys Club
Time: 16:45 NST
Venue: Dasharath Stadium