Unbeaten Sankata held to draw by newcomers SatdobatoThe 1-1 draw against Satdobato is a huge blow to third-placed Sankata’s title chase.
Unbeaten Sankata Club shared points with newcomers Satdobato Youth Club after a 1-1 draw while APF FC drew their third match in a row playing a 0-0 draw against Jawalakhel Youth Club in the Martyrs Memorial 'A' Division League at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday.
Sushil Rai put Satdobato ahead capitalising on a blunder of Sankata goalie Raja Babu Thapa in the first half but Jaya Gurung restored the parity shortly.
The second draw in a row for Sankata, who had played 0-0 draw in the last fixture against Chyasal Youth Club, meant they remained unchanged in third place with 14 points at the beginning of the eighth round. They are three points behind leaders Machhindra and two adrift of second place Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC), with both of them having a match in hand. Satdobato, who have not won in the last five games, are eighth with nine points.
Jawalakhel and APF both remained unchanged in the standings at ninth and tenth places respectively with eight and seven points.
The entertaining match saw Satdobato test Sankata goalie Thapa as early as in the fourth minute when the shot stopper punched Sudip Gurung's strike to safety. Sankata replied a few minutes later through Guinean forward Fode Fofana but his strike was denied by custodian Abishek Baral.
Satdobato went ahead in the 22nd courtesy of an unforgivable error from goalie Thapa as his clearance in Niraj Basnet's backpass struck on Rai's knee to enter at the back of the net. Satdobato's Suraj Gurung's strike at the stroke of half an hour hit the bar.
Gurung levelled the scores in the 32nd when he unleashed a thunderous strike from 25-yard in short pass of Dipesh Ale Magar leaving goalie Baral clueless.
Satdobato could have restored parity shortly into the restart before Dipak Raj Singh ended up firing wide with only goalie Thapa on his way.
Satdobato coach Suraj Maharjan lamented their failure to convert scoring opportunities. "Despite taking the lead we conceded due to lack of understanding between goalkeeper and the defenders. We also failed to capitalise on scoring opportunities," added Maharjan. "We had arrived with a three-point ambition, but playing a draw against an in-form side like Sankata is not bad."
Sankata coach Bishnu Gurung said that his side failed to execute their plans. "We would not have conceded if the goalkeeper and defenders were attentive," said Gurung, adding that some of his players failed to play to their potential due to injuries. "The players were under mental and physical stress due to injuries."
In the evenly contested late fixture of the day, Jawalakhel's Indian midfielder Nicholas Fernandes's first half strike sailed above the bar before his teammate Onguna Junior ended up in a similar fashion. APF midfielder Mani Kumar Rai's freekick in the first half injury time sailed inches wide.
In the early second half, Jawalakhel goalie Kuldip Karki denied APF forward Aashish Lama's strike before Jawalakhel's Cameroonian forward Junior headed in Sunil Khadka cross, missing the target.
Machhindra vs Friends
Time: 13:00 NST
NRT vs Army
Time: 16:45 NST
Venue: Dasharath Stadium
Manang vs Chyasal
Time: 14:00 NST
Venue: Pokhara Stadium