Stoppage time goal denies Lalitpur first winChitwan defender Amit Tamang scored from the spot in the added time of the second half as Chitwan held Lalitpur 1-1 in Nepal Super League.
A stoppage time goal ensured FC Chitwan walk away with a point after they salvaged a 1-1 draw against Lalitpur City FC in their first Nepal Super League match at the Dasharath Stadium in Tripureshwar on Monday.
Defender Amit Tamang scored for Chitwan to cancel Lalitpur's early second half lead from Kamal Shrestha.
The draw earned Chitwan one point in their curtain raiser match while Lalitpur, who had gone down to Kathmandu Rayzrs in their first match, also opened accounts but managed one point from two matches. Lalitpur only have four matches left to play before the seven-team single round robin franchise league wraps up.
National team forward and Lalitpur captain Anjan Bista was at fault for the draw as he wasted a penalty in the first half. Lalitpur started the match as a better side with swift exchange of passes and created frequent chances.
"Penalty may not always be scored in football and I have taken it easily," said Lalitpur coach Pradip Humagain who asked if the missed penalty was the turning point of the game. Humagain also said that there was no pressure for his side despite earning a single point from two matches.
"We performed very well despite the draw. The team played as per the game plan and also made frequent attempts. We should not be nervous after just the second match. I have trust in my team and we don't have any kind of pressure. We are going to win the upcoming matches," said Humagain.
Chitwan captain and striker Bharat Khawas missed three scoring chances. Chitwan were forced to replace their Egyptian midfielder Ahmed Mohammed in the eighth minute due to his poor health. His compatriot, also a midfielder Elsayed Shaaban, was replaced in the first minute of the second half after he picked an injury early in the first half.
"We failed to meet our own expectations as two first choice midfielders could not play their best," Chitwan coach Meghraj KC said. "Both of them – one was replaced within 10 minutes and the other also picked an injury at the early stage. The whole team became unbalanced after that. But we hope to come up with better performance in the upcoming matches as it was also our first game of the campaign."
Bimala Rana came closer to scoring for Lalitpur in the 10th minute collecting a through pass from Nabin Lama but the forward strike missed the target after deflecting on a defender.
In the 20th, Lalitpur wasted a golden scoring opportunity from the spot as custodian Sunar made a long stretch dive to the right to block skipper Bista's penalty shot. The custodian recovered quickly to prevent the second successive close range attack after the ball fell on Rana's path. Chitwan's French forward Goran Jerkovic was at fault for the penalty as he unnecessarily brought down defender Niraj Basnet in the area during a corner delivered by Kamal Shrestha.
Chitwan's first threat on goal came in the 35th minute when captain Khawas' semi-volley from the area set by French forward Goran Jerkovic sailed inches above the bar. Lalitpur squandered another scoring chance four minutes before the break as Egyptian midfielder Ahmed Mohammed's free header in Bista's freekick went wide.
Defender Kamal Shrestha broke the deadlock for Lalitpur four minutes into the second half. The defender's right flank strike, seemingly a cross, from outside the area entered at the right top leaving Chitwan goalie Bishal Sunar and also his teammates stunned.
In the 61st Chitwan captain Khawas wasted yet another scoring opportunity as he ended up firing inches above the bar from a close range in Jerkovic’s pass. Four minutes later Lalitpur's Mohammed’s scorcher rattled the bar. In the 68th Bista's rocketing strike from the inner edge of the area was saved by a diving goalie Sunar.
In the 88th, Chitwan again survived the scare when goalie Sunar made a diving save to deny Erik Bista's a freekick from the right top of the near post.
Chitwan hit back the equaliser in the second minute of the stoppage time from the penalty after Arik Bista handballed inside the area in his bid to defend Amit Tamang strike. Tamang stepped up to convert the resulting penalty as his side erupted with joy.
Chitwan custodian Sunar was declared the man-of-the-match while Lalitpur defender Binod Gurung was named emerging player. Sunar was awarded with Rs 25,000 while Gurung won Rs 10,000.
Dhangadi FC will play against Kathmandu Rayzers on Tuesday.