Butwal down wasteful Ilam for first winArik Bista’s stunning freekick helps Bijay Maharjan’s men overcome Sporting Ilam 2-1 in the Nepal Super League.
Arik Bista scored a stunning freekick late in the second half as Butwal Lumbini overcame Sporting Ilam 2-1 in a high-octane drama to register their first victory of the season in the Nepal Super League at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Sunday.
Ilam’s Abodoulaye Ba netted in the 78th minute to cancel out Stephane Samir Binong’s 49th minute lead but the Butwal captain brilliantly converted a long-range free kick to make sure the see-saw contest went their way.
Butwal had lost their previous matches 2-0 against Lalitpur City and 1-0 to Dhangadhi and needed a win to raise their hopes of staying in the contention for the playoff race.
The outcome moved Butwal into the seventh position, four points adrift of leaders Dhangadhi, who played a goalless draw with second-placed Lalitpur, who have five points, on Saturday. Pokhara Thunders, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Jhapa, also have five points but sit in the third position. Fourth-placed defending champions Kathmandu Rayzrs have played a game less and could join Lalitpur at the summit if they defeat Jhapa on Monday.
Ilam were coming off a 1-0 win over Jhapa following their opening defeat and showed their intent to continue the momentum, with Bharat Khawas hitting the woodwork early in the 3rd minute.
Megh Raj KC’s side threatened Butwal again seven minutes later with a Fode Camara header that sailed off the post.
Butwal were gradually building their play and Gilespye Jung Karki—who has emerged as the first choice forward alongside Anjan Bista for Nepal head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese—was influential throughout the match.
Jung Karki dribbled past three defenders to bulldoze into the opposition box in the 13th minute and neatly set up Binong in front of the goal but the Cameroonian was too slow as Ilam defenders overpowered him.
Chances came and went for both sides but the drama unfolded soon after the restart when Binong and Jung Karki combined to put Butwal ahead in the 49th minute. Binong flicked a long pass from Serge Song to feed Jung Karki on the left and the national forward showed his control and confidence to round off three Ilam defenders inside the box before supplying the ball back to an unmarked Binong, who calmly slotted past goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu.
One of the most dramatic moments came near the hour mark when Ilam found two clean chances to square the game, with the latter coming through penalty. The penalty kick was awarded for a foul on Dipesh Ghale by Thierry Biyik who was trying to clear the mess that resulted after Butwal goalkeeper Mohamodou denied Fode Camara a golden opportunity to equalise.
Camara stepped up to take the spot kick but Mohamodou turned hero again with a brilliant save.
Ilam wasted another opportunity in the 69th minute when Amath Ndaw set up Ba with a low cross inside the six yard box but the Senegalese flashed wide.
Arik was fortunate not to have scored an own goal in the 76th minute when his attempt to keep away a cross from Ndaw hit his own post.
Butwal’s Mohamodou then made a double save to deny efforts from Camara and Ba two minutes later but his luck finally ran out in the 78th minute when he failed to take control over a powerful long-ranger from Santosh Khatri and Ba quickly took advantage to tap in as Ilam finally breathed a sigh of relief.
But Arik, a national team regular, was not finished yet and wrapped up the match in style, curling a free kick into the top corner in the 88th minute.