KATHMANDU, Dec 28: NMB Machhindra Club upset Laxmi Hyundai Manang Marsyangdi Club 2-1 in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division League football tournament on Friday to end 17-match undefeated run of MMC coach Krishna Thapa in domestic football.
Machhindra, which lost to Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) 4-0 and played 1-1 draw against Three Star in the last two matches, bounced back in the league as Karna Limbu emerged a hero on Friday.
With the win, Machhindra climbed to the third position with 20 points from nine matches while MMC slipped to the fourth with 18 points from nine matches. Leader Three Star has 22 points from nine matches.
Machhindra Club players celebrate goal. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Mbile Leonel Stephen gave MMC a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute as his header rolled into the net in a corner from Sabindra Shrestha.
Bishal Rai A and his namesake shot wide respectively in 21st and 44th minute but Machhindra bounced back in the second half. Limbu leveled the scores utilizing poor defending from Bikash Singh Chhetri in the 62nd minute.
Limbu, then, made a long sprint in counter attack and provided an acute pass to Bishal Rai A, who scored the winner with a powerful one-touch strike in the 87th minute. Meanwhile, MMC skipper Anil Gurugn and Sulav Maskey missed a couple of chances in the second half.
With the win, Machhindra took a sweet revenge with MMC, which had defeated the former 1-0 in the final of Safal Pokhara Cup two months ago.
NMB staff (dressed in white jumper) react after Machindra Club scores goal. NMB is the sponsor of Machhindra Club. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
Machhindra coach Raju Shakya said his players marked MMC´s vital players like captain Gurung and Shiva Shrestha well and did not give them the opportunity to make any dangerous move. MMC coach Thapa said his team lost rhythm after the equalizer, which he blamed to be an offside move.
"Defenders made mistakes and our wingers could not be effective today," said Thapa.
Sankata beats Madhyapur
In the day´s late kick off, CMG Club Sankata beat Iceberg Madhyapur Youth Association 1-0 to pose relegation threat to the only A division club from Bhaktapur.
Sajan Shrestha scored the lone goal of the match in the 74th minute. Shrestha collected a pass from Ritesh Khadka and shot at the post but his feeble shot entered the net.
Khadka had missed a one-on-one chance in the 53rd minute and Rupesh Chhetri´s header in a pass from Khadka sailed above the bar in the injury time of the second half.
Madhyapur had missed a few chances in the first half and a couple in the second but could not score. Madhyapur´s foreign recruit Devis made a powerful shot on a one-on-one situation with goalkeeper but his shot rebounded off the poll in the 28th minute. Meanwhile, Sankata´s goalkeeper Pierre Hearve caught a 35-yard powerful shot of Abiodun in the 30th minute.
MMC vs Machhindra Club. (Photo: Bikash Karki)
With the win, Sankata climbed to the fifth position with 16 points from nine matches. Madhyapur has only seven points from nine matches and remains on the 14th position, the relegation zone.
"We have avoided relegation and we´ll focus on finishing in the top eight now," said Sankata coach Maheshwor Mulmi. His counterpart Upendra Man Singh said the defeat has seriously exposed his side to relegation threat. "We have to win at least three matches from the remaining six to avoid relegation," said Singh.
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