Manang, Three Star battle to victoryA second-half goal saved the blushes of leader Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in its 1-0 win over unfancied Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) while Three Star Club rallied to beat Saraswati Youth Club 2-1 in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League on Wednesday.
A second-half goal saved the blushes of leader Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in its 1-0 win over unfancied Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) while Three Star Club rallied to beat Saraswati Youth Club 2-1 in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League on Wednesday.
At the ANFA Complex in Satdobato, Nepali international Anjan Bista struck from a penalty spot in the 62nd to seal three points and ensure MMC maintain their 100 percent winning record intact. Ranjit Dhimal and Nirajan Khadka rallied for Three Star after trailing to a fourth minute goal from Victor Amobi at the APF grounds in Halchowk. In the second match in Satdobato, Chyasal Youth Club fought back to register second win defeating Himalayan Sherpa Club 2-1.
The results meant seven-time champion MMC opened up a three-point lead over second-placed Three Star and Sankata club after six matches. Three Star and Sankata have 15 points each. Tribhuvan Army Club has the opportunity to close the gap to two points if it beats Friends Club on Thursday. JYC is in 11th position with four points in the 14-team league while Saraswati sits in ninth with six points. Chyasal climbed to seventh with seven points while Sherpa remained stable in sixth place with 10 points.
MMC came up with attacking intent and only the compact defence and some heroic saves from JYC goalie Takendra Thapa kept them at bay. MMC made its intention clear in the seventh minute through Bishal Rai, who forced custodian Thapa to parry a freekick and in the resulting rebound the goalie also denied Bista strike. Moments later Thapa also foiled Adelaja Somide’s powerful shot. Thapa made yet another save to deny Heman Gurung’s attempt from the edge of the box following a clever short pass by stand-in-skipper Rai, who wore the captain’s armband in the absence of suspended Biraj Maharjan.
“Our strategy was to score goals within the first 15-20 minutes and so we adopted an outright offensive game. But our plan did not work,” said MMC coach Suman Shrestha. “The sharpness in midfield was lacking and if we continue to perform the way we did today, we should stop dreaming of title,” added Shrestha.
JYC’s first real attack on goal came in the 22nd minute when Olalekan Afeez Olawale shot above the bar. Rai also came close to scoring in the 41st minute as his freekick sailed just wide. But MMC’s persistence finally paid off in the 62nd minute when it earned a penalty. Nigerian forward Afeez was fouled inside the area by Adama Doumbia and Anjan Bista stepped in to convert it for his league-leading fifth goal.
Olawale Afeez came within whiskers of adding another goal for MMC in the 82nd as his header went wide. The miss nearly proved costly as MMC survived big scare twice in stoppage time. Goalkeeper Bishal Shrestha blocked Sunil Kumar Yadav’s shot before Rai scrambled it to safety. Moments later JYC’s Afeez Lawal’s powerful freekick smashed the upright after taking a slight touch off second Ashok Baral, who had replaced injured Shrestha.
JYC coach Raj Kumar KC said blamed the defeat to impatience of his defenders. “We were looking to score in counter attack while keeping the defence compact. But our players ran out of gas,” he said.
In the second match, Sherpa took a 15th minute lead through Tridev Gurung who applied a finishing touch after Karna Limbu’s initial shot had rebounded off the upright. Nepali international Santosh Sahukhala levelled the scores with a brilliant individual display, dribbling past two defenders before cutting past goalie Kishor Giri to score the goal. Chyasal scored the winning goal in the 73rd minute when substitute Sunil Khadka’s shot deflected off Niraj Basnet to enter the goal.
“We were under pressure to win to remain on course of our minimum target—the top six finish,” said Chyasal coach Shakya. His Himalayan Sherpa counterpart Subash Limbu partly blamed mistakes of defenders for the defeat.
At Halchowk grounds, Victory Amboi scored against his former club through penalty in the fourth minute only for Ranjit Dhimal to level the scores in the 17th minute through penalty, his third goal from spot. Nirajan Khadka netted the all-important goal in the 36th minute for the Lalitpur-based team.
Army vs Friends 1100 NST
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