MMC rally to hold Abahani

- Raju Ghising, Thimpu
MMC rally to hold Abahani

Nov 22, 2014-

Defending champions Manang Marshyangdi Club staged a remarkable comeback holding Abahani Limited of Bangladesh to a 2-2 draw in the Kings Cup at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimpu, Bhutan on Saturday.

Nasirum Islam and Bangora scored a goal each in space of eight minutes as Abahani headed into the second half with a 2-0 lead. However, skipper Anil Gurung and Shiva Shrestha struck in the second half to salvage a point for MMC who stay alive for semi-finals after the result.

MMC are tied on four points with Abahani but stay second in the Group ‘B’ points table on better goal difference. Pune FC of India lead the standings with six points from two games. Ugen Academy of Bhutan are fourth with three points, while winless Assam Electricity are at the bottom.

MMC coach Nabin Neupane was confident to reach the semi-finals. “The comeback victory today has given us more confidence. So we will defeat Ugen and enter the last four,” said Neupane.

MMC attacked first when Deepak Rai forced Abahani keeper to rise high to punch out his powerful shot from outside the area. But after that opening shot, Abahani dominated the first half. Custodian Bishal Shrestha had to give his best denying a curling free-kick from Saddam Yusuf in the seventh minute.

In the 31st minute, Aminur Rehman caught the MMC defence napping and set for Islam inside the area with the forward making no mistake in gliding it past Shrestha. Bangora took most of his physique and made a swift move to convert Tutul Hossain’s pass in the 39th minute.

MMC finally got into the rhythm after Neupane substituted midfielder Rupesh KC with Bishal Rai in the 43rd minute. The first half ended when Gurung’s shot was saved by Bangladeshi keeper in the injury time.

After the break, Shiva Shrestha came with a golden touch setting Gurung for the goal in the 51st minute. Gurung chipped Shrestha’s cross into the nets when he was sandwiched by two defenders with the goalkeeper advancing forward. Just a minute later Leonce Dodoz missed a sitter with a feeble shot when in an umarked position he met a cross from Bishal and only had the Abahani keeper to beat.

MMC were controlling the second half and their hard work paid in the 83rd minute. The Bangladeshi keeper punched a powerful 25-yard shot from Bishal Rai and the ball flew to Shrestha who produced a stunning header from just inside the area to level the match.

Published: 23-11-2014 09:50

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