Biratnagar City defeat Chitwan 2-0 to go topRanjit Dhimal-led side lead the Nepal Super League despite sharing equal points with Dhangadhi FC.
Biratnagar City FC climbed to the top of Nepal Super League football tournament standings after a 2-0 win over FC Chitwan on Monday.
Spanish forward Pedro Javier Manzi Cruz and Nepali international Santosh Tamang scored after the break to lift Biratnagar above Dhangadhi FC atop the standings on both head-to-head and goal difference. The two teams are square on seven points after four matches. Biratnagar had thumped Dhangadhi 3-0 in their campaign opener on April 25.
Butwal Lumbini remain at third with five points but have a match advantage over Biratnagar and Dhangadhi and can leapfrog them at the top spot if they beat fifth-placed Kathmandu Rayzrs on Tuesday.
At an empty Dasharath Stadium, the first half lacked much action with fewer chances at both ends.
Chitwan failed to utilise a chance at goal as early as the third minute when Ruddy Jonathan N Mbakop released Goran Jerkovich at left, but the French forward’s pass could not find sprinting Shishir Lekhi.
Sunil Bal had an opportunity to put Biratnagar in front in the 23rd minute but the unmarked midfielder’s attempt to tap a cross from Spanish forward Cruz flew high above the bar.
In the 36th minute Bal curled a cross from the right side of the area but Nigerian forward Adelaja Oluwawunmi’s header could not land at the target.
Two minutes later Cruz cleverly sent a long ball, almost from the centre, to surprise Chitwan goalkeeper Bishal Sunar who had come out of his position, but the shot could not find the target.
Biratnagar continued to pile pressure on Chitwan after the break as well.
Cruz should have scored in the 51st minute when Nir Kumar Rai’s cross found him near the six-yard box, but as the unmarked striker was too hasty in his effort, goalie Sunar was able to make a comfortable save.
Tamang terrorised the Chitwan box in the 58th minute with a powerful shot forcing goalie Sunar to make a finger-tip save.
Biratnagar finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute through Cruz. The Spanish striker controlled a long freekick from Bal near the penalty spot and superbly fired a left-footed volley into the right corner.
Tamang then wrapped up the win in the 89th minute arrowing a brilliant left-footed shot from outside the box past Sunar into the right corner.
“Brilliant game, brilliant performance,” said a happy Biratnagar coach Yan Law. “They created many chances and could have scored more but I am happy with two goals,” he added.
The loss is a huge blow to Chitwan’s hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals. They have yet to win a match in the league. They remain at the bottom after two draws and two losses.
Chitwan assistant coach Sailesh Karmacharya blamed the match referee for making an unfair decision.
“He should have awarded a handball when, but he did not. That very first goal shook our confidence. We were gradually coming back into the game but the decision of the referee made us lose the match,” fumed Karmacharya.
“The referee might have favoured Biratnagar today because their coach was vocal about him last time,” added Karmacharya.
Biratnagar’s Suraj Jui Thakuri was declared emerging player of the match and bagged a purse of Rs10,000 while Ranjit Dhimal was declared super player of the match. Dhimal received Rs25,000.