Sankata stun table toppers CBUThey grab a 1-0 win as leaders fail to capitalise on slip-up of rivals Machhindra, Jawalakhel.
Leaders Church Boys United (CBU) failed to capitalise on slip up of title rivals Machhindra Club and third-placed Jawalakhel Youth Club as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against relegation strugglers Sankata Club in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League at the Dasharath Stadium on Saturday.
A solitary goal from Lebanon midfielder Youssef Atriss in the second half gave a vital win for Sankata in the late fixture and denied CBU a golden opportunity to extend their lead by five points atop the table.
The outcome of day’s early match involving second-placed Machhindra, also the reigning champions, who were made to sweat for a 1-1 draw by Tribhuvan Army FC and a 2-0 defeat of third position Jawalakhel Youth Club by APF FC meant CBU went into the match hoping to strengthen their hold on title before Sankata poured cold water on their ambition.
CBU, gearing up to become the second team after Manang Marshyangdi Club to claim top tier title in debut season, who suffered their fourth defeat of the season have 38 points. They are two points ahead of the second-placed Machhindra and four ahead of third-placed Jawalakhel after equal 22 matches.
The victory came as a big relief to underperforming Sankata studded with Nepali international stars Manish Dangi, Ayush Ghalan and Suraj Jeu Thakuri along with five overseas players. They climbed two spots up to 11th on 26 points. However, they are still under threat of dropping to second division with four matches yet to play.
The competitive match saw CBU come close to scoring in the 61st minute before Ranjeet Singh Pandre squandered a sitter. The forward ended up finishing inches wide when captain Ananta Tamang’s back header in Anjan Bista cross landed straight to him just outside the six yard box.
Sankata’s Atriss punished CBU in the 69th in a counter attack after Cameroonian forward Junior Nkengue sprinted the ball and laid to the Lebanese who put the ball at the back of the net beating goalie Yves Priso with a low finish.
The previous fixture of the day saw early pacesetters Jawalakhel Youth Club fail to win for the fifth time in a row at the same venue. First half goals from Armand Beadoum and Awas Lamichhane became sufficient for the departmental side to overcome Jawalakhel, who were off to a flying start in the league campaign and finished the first leg on top of the 14-team standings.
But they have earned only four points from their last five games, settling for a draw in four. The outcome of these five games dealt a huge blow to Jawalakhel’s ambition who were chasing their first league title. APF climbed to sixth position and are tied on 29 points with fifth-placed Satdobato and seventh Himalayan Sherpa Club. But the latter two have a match advantage each over the departmental side.
APF came closer to scoring in the 20th minute as Beadoum’s bouncing header in the Nabin Lama corner bounced above the bar. But the Mali forward amended his mistake three minutes later with a spectacular finish as he applied a low acrobatic from the area to convert Sharan Basnet through pass despite being under marking by Jawalakhel defender. He also took his scoring tally to eight goals.
Forward Lamichhane doubled the advantage in the third minute of first half stoppage time with a quick finishing touch when he found a loose ball inside the area after Jawalakhel defenders stopped Beadoum and Yubraaj Khadka in a close encounter before the ball fell on his path.
At the Chyasal stadium, Army took a 17th minute lead through Dinesh Henjan and thought they would walk away with three points. But Youdha Shahi struck at own net during an hour mark only to share a point each. Army are fourth on 30 points.