KATHMANDU, Sept 26: Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club crashed out of the Ncell Cup Football Championship on Wednesday at the after going down 1-0 against minnow Saraswati Youth Club which kept afloat its hope of making into the next stage.
In the day´s kick off match, McDowell´s Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) came from behind twice to beat CMG Club Sankata 3-2 and inch closer to the quarterfinal stage at the Dasharath Stadium.
An early goal from Ganesh BK was sufficient for Saraswati to beat Jawalakhel which lies at the bottom of group D without any point. BK headed in a corner of Krishna Gopal Shrestha´s pass in the sixth minute which turned out to be the match decider.
The win puts Saraswati on three points and in contention for knockout stage. A victory over Bauddha FC in its last group match could secure Saraswati´s place for the knockout stage. Group leader Police and second placed Bauddha FC have four points each and last placed Jawalakhel is already out of the tournament.
On Wednesday´s match, Saraswati controlled from the beginning to the end and made frequent post attacks. Jawalakhel was able to make only one attack. Saraswati´s African recruit Yona Elias Ndabila squandered three scoring chances while Bivek Gurung and Krishna Gopal Shrestha were also unsuccessful to achieve the target.
Jawalakhel was denied a chance to equalize in the 75th minute as Dhruba Shrestha cleared the ball rolling towards empty net after goalkeeper was beaten by Krishna Shakya.
After the team´s first win Saraswati coach Pradip Nepal said his side will play for a win against Baudhha and secure a place in the knockout stage. "We still need to make lot improvement in the team. The midfield could not hold and supply the ball properly," Nepal said.
Jawalakhel coach Rajaram Karki said that there were majority of new faces in the team. "There were problems in midfield and forward line," Karki said.
Earlier, RCT made a dramatic comeback, scoring two goals during the last six minutes including the second equalizer and the match winner.
Sankata had taken an early lead in the sixth minute through its African player Samuel Ongno who beat advancing goalie Dilip Chhetri after beating an offside trap. But Amar Dangol made it 1-1 in the 26th minute when he made a brilliant strike from tight angle.
Sankata again restored its lead three minutes before interval through a penalty taken by Barshat Gurung. Sankata was awarded the penalty after defender Noor Raj Kafle fouled Ongno in the box.
RCT´s attempt of getting the equalizer was fulfilled in the 84th minute after Yugal Kishor Rai scored. He beat an offside trap to send the ball past goalie Pieree Herve Ndoe Mbarga in a pass of Shekhar Limbu.
Afeez, the African player for RCT, hit the match winner two minute later when he received a pass from Rai in counter attack, beat the goalie inside the six-yard box and rolled the ball into the back of the net.
Earlier, Sankata´s African goalie Mbarga made a couple of brilliant saves to take the team towards commanding position.
Like on other matches, coaches of the both Sankata and RCT came down heavily upon the referee. When asked the reason of defeat, Shyam Mali, the assistant coach of Sankata who appeared in the post match conference instead of coach Maheshwar Mulmi, blamed the wrong decision of referee. Referee Bikash Mahat had conducted the match.
"The last goal scored by RCT was offside, but the assistant referee didn´t awarded the offside," Mali said adding that his team should have been awarded penalty in the very second minute, but the referee didn´t award it either. "The investment of club is being wasted due to referee´s wrong decision," Mali said adding, lack of experienced player was also another reason for the defeat.
RCT coach Baiju Nath Kapali was also frustrated with the referee´s decision. "Overall the decisions of referee are always controversial. The referees are not qualified enough to conduct matches of this level. They would be better off officiating matches at Kavre of Sindupalchowk."
Regarding his side´s performance Kapali said, "It was difficult for us to play in this ground as we train in small ground. There was no proper communication between defenders thus we conceded goals. The midfielder also could not do their duty properly."