KATHMANDU, Nov 22: Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club and McDowell´s Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) on Thursday started their Martyrs Memorial A Division Football League campaign at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmadnu with victories.
Sherpa edged past Armed Police Force (APF) 3-0 and RCT overcame Bauddha FC 2-0 to earn three points each. With only two matches left for the completion of the first round, Sherpa became the third and RCT fourth team to earn victory. Machhindra and Saraswati have earlier won their respective matches.
Skipper Pukar Gahatraj and Som Bahadur Malla scored one each in the first half for Sherpa while it got gift of an own goal in the second half. Sherpa had fielded two African players in its starting line up.
Kumar Thapa of Armed Police Force (White) vie for ball against Yeti Himalayan Sherpa Club. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Gahatraj opened the scoring for Sherpa with a penalty in the 24th minute after Dhiroj Tamang was fouled in the area by APF defender Bhim Shrestha. Malla doubled the advantage in the 45th minute in goalie Samit Rajbhandari´s rebounder of his own feeble shot in a corner taken by Dinesh Karki.
The third goal for Sherpa came in the 70th minute through Bhim Shrestha of APF. In his bid to clear Dhiroj Tamang´s flick header while goalie Rajbhandari was beaten, Shrestha pushed the ball towards net that hit the pole.
APF´s coach Janak Singh Tharu commented that penalty became the turning point of the match. He also expressed dissatisfaction over the penalty. "It was an unnecessary penalty. The referee did not award us penalty in a similar situation," said Tharu.
Yubal K Rai of Mcdowel´s RCT (Blue) in action against Boudha Football Club player Hem Tamang. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Tharu, however, lauded the team´s performance. "We played well, but there were some weaknesses in defense line up," said Tharu who lamented the absence of his defender Sudip Shrestha and Saroj Koirala.
APF´s Rajendra Rawal´s powerful strike from 25 yard with only four minutes remaining was valiantly punched to safety by Binay Shrestha. Similarly, skipper Kumar Thapa fired wide from close range with only glovesman Shrestha on his way during the fading moments.
Sherpa coach Meghraj KC said his side failed to come up with its real show in the match. "I hope the performance will improve in coming days as it is the first match," said KC who opined that the quality of foreign players will be vital in determining the results of the upcoming matches.
In another match, Amar Dangol netted in either half for RCT´s win over Bauddha that squandered after failing to convert penalty. Dangol put RCT ahead one minute before the interval. Dangol fired from the right side after beating three defenders. The ball changed its course after deflection from Bauddha defender´s body. But the match referee awarded the goal in Dangol´s name.
Bauddha could have equalized in the 66th minute but RCT´s veteran custodian Dilip Chhetry denied penalty taken by Buddha Lama in the 66th minute. The penalty was awarded after Ntolo Ngoumou, the Cameroonian defender for RCT handed the ball in the area.
"Had the penalty been scored, the match could have been changed," Bauddha coach Kiran Shrestha lamented after the match. Shrestha pointed the weakness of his side in the finishing line up.
A minute after Bauddha was denied of scoring, RCT doubled the advantage. RCT´s Ivory Coast forward Oladipo Olawale Afeez made a long sprint and set it for Dangol who headed to seal the victory.
"The confidence level went up after the penalty was denied by goalie Chhetri," RCT coach Madhu Karki said, adding that he was not satisfied with the performance of his team despite the win.
"The players are not fit as the event started soon after the festival. We have started combined training two days ago," Karki said, adding that his side will reassume its original form after playing the next two matches. "Whichever team wins the initial matches can be said to be lucky as none of them have conducted sufficient training for the league."
Earlier, Dangol´s strike in the 35th minute was denied by Bauddha goalie Ranjit Gurung and Dipesh Thapa Magar fired inches above the bar from close range in the 56th minute.
For Bauddha, Suman Lama selfishly shot wide from the area instead of passing it to unmarked Rajan Adhikari and Buddha Lama in the area.
Today´s matches NRT Vs Bansbari @ 12:30 NST
Army Vs Friends @ 14:30 NST