KATHMANDU, Dec 10: Skipper Anil Gurung netted the lone goal in the second half for Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) as it defeated high flying New Road Team (NRT) 1-0 and reduce gap to two point with leader Machhindra Club in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division Football League being held at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu.
Gurung scored in the 65th minute to seal the victory and hand NRT its second defeat in a row. Gurung tapped in from the six-yard box as MMC maintained its unbeaten run to five matches.
With its third win, the six time champion MMC moved up two spots to second position with 11 points, two points behind leaders Machhindra club. Third placed RCT and fourth placed Three Star, with a a game in hand, could overtake MMC if they win their respective matches on Tuesday. NRT remained in the seventh position with seven points.
MMC and Nepal Army players in action. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
MMC looked too strong against NRT, dominated ball possession and created as many as half a dozen of chances. Nirajan Malla, included in the starting line up since the first match, wasted a couple of chances including a one-versus-one situation with custodian Raju Yogi in the 86th minute. In the 80th, Malla´s shot was punched to safety by goalie. MMC´s African recruit Fils Sergio Chico was denied twice by goalie Yogi.
NRT made as many as three attacks on goal during the second half but failed to find the back of the net. NRT had nearly taken lead in the 57th minute but Rajeev Gurung´s volley from the area hit the upright. MMC´s African custodian Aqbolade Emmanuel Dare caught 35-yard strike of Subash Gurung B. Similarly, Sequn Akinade Eyitayo´s one-touch strike from edge sailed inches above the bar.
"We came with an all out attacking strategy during the later stages of match fearing that we may not score as during the last match," said MMC coach Krishna Thapa, whose side was held to a goalless draw in its last match by Friends. Coach Thapa who had assigned the role of midfielder to Anil Gurung during the early part of the match admitted that his initial strategy failed and later moved him back to his usual position as forward´s.
MMC players celebrate goal. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
NRT coach Diken Suwal was dissatisfied with his side´s performance. "The team did not play well. They looked effortless and the midfield could not support forward," said frustrated Suwal adding, his side looked bit spirited only after conceding goal.
Madhyapur holds Army
New-comer Iceberg Madhyapur Youth Association forced Nepal Army Club to 0-0 draw in the day´s kick off match. The solid defense of Madhyapur caused trouble to Army on numerous occasions.
Attempts by Ram Kumar Biswas, Bharat Khawas and Nawayug Shrestha were all caught by Madhyapur goalie Bikesh Kutu while Raju Tamang´s last gasp freekick sailed inches above the bar.
Madhyapur with six points climbed three spots up to ninth position after its third draw and a win. Meanwhile, Army with eight eight points as that of Sankata climbed one spot up to fifth on the basis of goals superiority.
Madhyapur resorted to defensive strategy and looked under pressured until the end. "We played defensive football because Army is a strong opponent," said Upendra Man Singh adding, the result was favorable for his side. "We had aimed not to lose the match and we achieved it." Singh also opined that his midfield and forward could not do their duty properly.
Singh´s counterpart Yogambar Suwal of Army said his players failed to open score as they looked in hurry for achieving score rather than playing well coordinated football. "We had played for three points but could not achieve our aim," said Suwal.
Tuesday´s matches Jawalakhel Vs RCT @ 12:30 NST
Three Star Vs Sherpa @ 14:30 NST