MMC lose winning run against Friends ClubFriends Club spoiled Manang Marshyangdi Club’s (MMC) title celebrations as the Lalitpur-based outfits stunned the champions 1-0 on the last day of the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Tuesday.
Friends Club spoiled Manang Marshyangdi Club’s (MMC) title celebrations as the Lalitpur-based outfits stunned the champions 1-0 on the last day of the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Tuesday.
Bikash Lama headed home the last-gasp winner, six minutes into the stoppage time to ensure they avoid finishing in the bottom two of the 14-team league. Friends ended up in 11th place. The league does not have provision of relegation this season but the bottom two teams will be docked points next season.
The 14th placed team will be deducted two points and 13th will be penalised with one point next season. The two teams will also see All Nepal Football Association deduct Rs 300,000 and Rs 200,000 respectively from their preparation amount next season.
The defeat also came as a big blow for MMC who was looking to round up their league campaign with 100 percent winning record. MMC had sealed the title with two games to spare. With the record eighth Martyrs Memorial title they also received Rs 5 million. “Obviously we wanted to finish the league with 100 percent winning record,” MMC coach Suman Shrestha.
“It definitely made our title celebration a bit sour. We didn’t see it (defeat) coming since we had won all 12 previous matches,” added Shrestha. MMC skipper Biraj Maharjan said: “We failed to utilise scoring chances and paid the price. We could have set history it we had defeated Friends today,” lamented Maharjan, who is also the national team skipper.
In the drab affair, both the teams failed to muster remarkable chances in first half period. Olawale Afeez found the back of the net for MMC in the first half stoppage time only to see his attempt ruled as offside. Friends only attempt on goal came around half an hour mark when Sajog Maharjan applied a week shot on Fofana Brahiman cross.
MMC piled pressure deep into second half creating some scoring chances but Anjan Bista was at the wrong end to squander three chances for the champions. In the 77th minute, Bista ended up shooting high above bar having cut past goalkeeper Dev Limbu inside the area. Two minutes later the unmarked winger fired above bar after nicely set up by Nigerian forward Olawale Afeez. And three minutes into stoppage time Bista’s header was denied by Friends custodian Dev Limbu. Despite all the pressure Friends struck in the dying moments of the game. Bikash Lama headed on a Anil Maharjan freekick from the crowded area.
At the APF grounds in Halchowk, Brigade Boys Club (BBC) and New Road Team settled for a 0-0 draw. The result meant NRT, with one win and four defeats, finished at the bottom with seven points. BBC ended up in 12th place with 10 points. NRT will see two points deducted next season while Machhindra will have one point penalty next season for finishing 13th.
Bishal Shrestha of MMC (best goalkeeper), Ranjit Dhimal of Three Star (best defender), Heman Gurung of MMC (best midfielder) and Bharat Khawas of Tribhuvan Army Club (best forward) collected the individual awards. All four players received a Pulsar motorcycle. Suman Shrestha of MMC was declared the best coach and rode home with a Pulsar bike. Bikash Khawas of Army was presented with the Mani Shah Emerging Player award which carries a purse of Rs 100,000.