Machhindra and Jawalakhel play out goalless stalemateMachhindra—who are aiming to lift their third title in three seasons—have reestablished themselves as the title contenders following a slow start to their season.
Reigning champions Machhindra club and Jawalakhel Youth Club shared a point each after they played a 0-0 draw at the Dasharath Stadium in the Martyrs Memorial A-Division League in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
Machhindra—who are aiming to lift their third title in three seasons—have reestablished themselves as the title contenders following a slow start to their season. They are second in the 14-team standings and cut the gap on top to two points but CBU have a match in hand and can open up a five-point lead if they beat a lowly Manang on Thursday. CBU have 37 points.
Jawalakhel have melted in the heat of pressure, and after surrendering their lead at the top of the table for a second time this season, they were looking to keep pressure on leaders CBU. Jawalakhel had let slip their advantage to draw against Manang and NRT in their last two matches and showed no signs of improvement against Machhindra, who also lacked cutting edge in front of the goal.
The only best moment of the first half came in the second minute of the additional time when Machhindra’s Andres Nia Tchounkeu’s header off a cross from Omolaja Nurain Kareem hit the crossbar.
Jawalakhel were lacklustre after the restart as well and failed to create any chances.
Machhindra’s Yuta Suzuki missed an opportunity to score from a point blank range in the 59th minute when Pujan Uperkoti’s 30-yard rocket rebounded off Jawalakhel goalkeeper Ishwor Gurung and fell in the foot of Suzuki just outside the six-yard box but the Japanese flashed wide.
Jawalakhel are third on 34 points.
Earlier at the Dasharath Stadium, Kritish Ratna Chhunju scored late in the second half as New Road Team defeated Tribhuvan Army Club 1-0 to boost their hopes of staying in the A-Division League.
Midfielder Chhunju brilliantly controlled the ball in the midfield, showed his pace to drive the ball into the penalty area and coolly chipped over Army goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu in the 79th minute after he was set up by Sanjeeeb Bista.
The win moved NRT up to ninth with 26 points.
The defeat dented Army’s hopes to return to title contention as they stay in the fifth position and are eight points adrift of leaders CBU.
At Chyasal, Awas Lamichhane scored a brace to inspire Armed Police Force Club to a 2-1 win over Sankata Club.
Lamichhane put APF in front in the 25th minute, converting a cross from Yubraaj Khadka and furthered his team’s lead in the fifth minute of first half injury time drilling a right-footed shot past Sankata goalkeeper Nishan Rana from the arc of the area after Bipan Shrestha cut back for him.
Manish reduced the deficit with a 50th minute header off a cross from Junior Onguene Nkengue but APF held on to their lead to move five points away from the drop zone.
Sankata kept the 12th spot but are only two points above bottom-two sides Friends and Khumaltar, who both have 21 points.