Sankata pips NPC, goes level on points with leader MMC
- ‘A’ Division League
Dec 5, 2018-
Sankata Club beat Nepal Police Club (NPC) 2-1 to go level on points with leader Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) in the Martyrs Memorial ‘A’ Division League at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato on Tuesday.
Defender Saroj Dahal and Dipesh Ale Magar struck first-half goals to seal Sankata’s win. Sankata has 15 points from five matches, MMC also has 15 points but leads the standings on goal difference despite playing a game less. MMC can retake a three-point lead if it beat Jawalakhel Youth Club (JYC) on Wednesday. For NPC, once a dominant force in domestic football, it was the second defeat and stay in fifth place with 10 points.
Despite playing without key players Suman Lama, Hem Tamang and Ajit Bhandari, NPC dominated the proceedings early on and brought Sankata goalkeeper Raja Babu Thapa into action frequently. While Lama and Tamang were ruled out due to injury, Bhandari was serving one-match suspension.
Early in the sixth minute a powerful shot from NPC skipper Bhola Silwal was blocked by Sankata custodian Thapa. After sustaining wave of attacks, it was Sankata who opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Dahal connected a powerful header in a Laxman Ruchal corner. To the dismay of NPC, Sankata added to its tally in the 37th through Ale Magar. The midfielder collected a pass from Ellon Maxwell, sprinted with the ball and beat advancing goalie Shatrudhan Chaudhary before slamming home at the near post.
NPC fought cut the deficit two minutes later through Rabi Shankar Paswan, who slotted home after Abhishek Rijal set the ball for him inside the area. Nir Kumar Rai also came close to scoring for NPC only to see his attempt sail above the bar in the stoppage time. Bikram Dhimal then wasted a chance to equalise for NPC when he rushed to retrieve the ball that Sankata keeper Thapa had blocked but ended up firing wide.
Despite the late NPC pressure, Sankata almost snatched a third goal one minute from time when its Cameroonian forward Maxwell’s tap at the open net was cleared by Man Bahadur Pariyar. NPC coach Ananta Thapa lamented on the absence of his key players. “We came under pressure after conceding early goals. To add to our misery we also missed several scoring opportunities,” said Tamang. Despite second defeat, Tamang insisted that his side was still in the hunt for the title.
Tamang’s Sankata counterpart Salyan Khadgi said his team was able to score in counter attack. “The win against one of the tough teams carries huge significance,” said Khadgi. “It was our strategy to keep our defence while looking out for goals on counter attack. Our plan worked well,” added Khadgi.
In the early match, Nepal APF Club beat bottom-placed New Road Team (NRT) 2-1. The second victory lifted the departmental team to seventh from 11th position with seven points. NRT, who held unbeaten Tribhuvan Army Club to a 1-1 draw in the first round match, is yet to taste victory and has just one point. Despite the precarious position, NRT is carefree as the current league do not have the provision of relegation.
APF took a third minute lead through Yubaraj Khadka before NRT drew level in the 15th minute through Rajesh Pariyar. APF scored again in the 73rd minute as it was awarded a penalty for a foul on Khadka by NRT defender Ashim Gurung. Defender Sudip Shikhrakar stepped in to convert from the spot.
APF coach Rajendra Tamang credited the victory to tight defence and proper marking of his team. “We were below par but our defence played crucial role in protecting the lead,” said Tamang. NRT coach Maheshwar Mulmi saw the match as a 50-50 affair. “We have a squad filled with U-20 players and only their lack of experience cost of the match,” said Mulmi.
MMC vs Jawalakhel (1100 NST, Satdobato)
Chyasal vs Sherpa (1430, Satdobato)
Three Star vs Saraswati (1430, Halchowk)
Published: 05-12-2018 08:21