Jawalakhel trip against NRTThe damaging draw is also an evidence to Jawalakhel’s frailty of crumbling under pressure and reminiscent of their slump toward the end of the first half of the campaign when they surrendered their five-point lead.
Jawalakhel Youth Club stumbled in their title race again as they played a 1-1 draw against New Road Team in the Martyrs Memorial A-Division League at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Thursday.
A win would have put Jawalakhel back to the summit of the 14-team standings. Instead they threw away their one-goal lead to drop points for a second straight match. It is also the second match in a row Jawalakhel have squandered their lead after allowing a 2-0 lead to slip against Manang Marshyangdi Club at the Chyasal Stadium on Sunday.
The damaging draw is also an evidence to Jawalakhel’s frailty of crumbling under pressure and reminiscent of their slump toward the end of the first half of the campaign when they surrendered their five-point lead.
Church Boys United lead the table with 33 points—one ahead of Jawalakhel—and have played a match less. They are in action against Nepal Police Club on Friday and a victory against the struggling departmental side would give them a four-point lead.
Sunil Khadka gave Jawalakhel a 37th minute lead, semi-volleying past NRT goalkeeper Santosh Mahat after Bikram Dhimal's effort to clear the ball from the six-yard box fell into Khadka’s foot.
Lalnunzama equalised in the 50th minute, driving a low shot from the crowded area after Kritish Ratna Chhunju connected him with a cross.
The outcome kept NRT in eighth position on 23 points.
Afeez rescues Machhindra
Machhindra Club also failed to climb to the top after playing a 2-2 draw with Friends Club earlier at the Dasharath Stadium.
The reigning champions ignited their hopes of successfully defending the title for a second straight season with a late revival but they had to rely on a brace from Olawale Oladipo Afeez in a match that saw all goals scored in a thrilling second half.
Friends went ahead in the 68th minute when Prakash Budhathoki fired a powerful shot from a tight angle following an individual effort.
Afeez brought Machhindra level three minutes later with a header off a Yuta Suzuki corner.
Rafiq Aminu put Friends back in the lead again in the 79th minute, flicking past Machhindra goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha after he was set up by Anjal Maharjan.
But Afeez rescued Machhindra in the 83rd minute taking advantage of a defensive lapse from Akhrorbek Uktamov and Ben Nash Quansah, whose lack of finesse allowed a lofted pass from Tshring Gurung to drop into the box for Afeez and the Nigerian forward rolled the ball past Friends goalie Raja Babu Thapa.
At Chyasal, Manang and Sankata Club shared spoils after playing a 2-2 draw.
Koffi Timothee Koudo scored either side of Youssef Atriss equaliser to put Manang in the driving seat twice but Manish Dangi found the target six minutes after the restart to salvage a point.