Friends puts five past Machhindra, Army scrapes win
Bharat Khawas scores the lone goal in Army´s win to take his tally to 10 goals
KATHMANDU, Jan 14: NIBL Friends Club inflicted a humiliating 5-0 defeat on title contender NMB Bank Machhindra Club at the Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu on Monday preventing the latter from moving three points clear at the top of the points table in the Martyrs Memorial Red Bull A Division Football League.
Friends scored four goals after the interval to cruise to its fourth consecutive victory and extend its unbeaten run to 10 matches.
Three of the five goals were scored by Friends´ foreign recruits, including a brace from Cheikh Oumar. Machhindra midfielder Edris Olyinka was sent off in the stoppage time of the match for a second yellow card.
In the day´s late match Nepali international forward Bharat Khawas scored the lone goal in Nepal Army´s 1-0 win over CMG Club Sankata to extend his team´s unbeaten run to four matches.
The result left Machhindra unchanged in the third position with 26 points, equal to that of leader RCT and second-placed Three Star. However, Three Star with a match advantage over the other two could go top if its beats Police in Tuesday´s match that will mark the completion of round 13. Friends climbed two spots to seventh with 21 points in its kitty. Army also moved two spots up to sixth with 22 points while Sankata with 17 points remained unchanged in the 10th place.
Jagjeet Shrestha gave an eighth-minute lead to Sankata with a well-placed finishing from the left side of the area after collecting a long pass from Zikahe Doodoz. Machhindra´s goalie Dinesh Thapa Magar could not prevent the goal despite despite getting his hands on the ball with a diving effort.
Earlier, in the fourth minute, Bishal Rai A´s one-touch strike from the area in Karna Limbu´s pass was denied by Friends´ African goalie Bashir. Skipper Deepak Rai´s attempt on the half-hour mark was also denied by the custodian. In the 44th minute, skipper Rai´s freekick again sailed inches above the bar.
Oumar doubled the advantage in the 61st minute when he headed home Deepak Bhusal´s cross and then netted the fifth goal during the fading moments in a freekick taken by Jagjeet Shrestha. It was the African player´s third goal in the league.
Dodoz netted the third goal in the 75th minute tactfully beating custodian Dinesh Thapa Magar inside the six-yard box in a one-on-one position. Santosh Tamang extended the lead during the stoppage time with a curling freekick from 20 yards.
Dennis Ouko´s two successive attempts for Machhidnra in the 80th minute were prevented by defender Saurav Magar and custodian Bashir.
Machhindra coach Raju Shakya said that his side conceded the first two goals due to the goalkeeper´s mistakes. Shakya also hinted at problems in the team and management. "After conceding two goals the team´s morale was down," said Shakya, adding that there were problems in his team´s finishing line-up. Shakya, however, said that his side could still finish on top of the table.
Friends coach Ramesh Maharjan praised his team´s effort. "Today the team played an unexpected game," said Maharjan, "We are slowly finding our rhythm and the victory has strengthened our chances of making it to the top eight."
In the day´s late match, Bharat Khawas scored the all-important goal in the injury time of first half taking advantage of a misunderstanding between defenders and custodian Ndoe Mbarga Pierre. Khawas guided the ball into an open net after Pierre failed to collect a header off Santosh Nepali while he was yet to recover his position. Pierre had slipped while trying to collect a back pass from one of his teammates.
It was Khawas´ 10th goal in the league, three behind highest scorer Yona Elias Ndabila of Saraswati and one behind Santosh Sahukhala of Three Star.
Earlier in the 40th minute, Santosh Nepal squandered a scoring chance for Army as he headed wide in an open position from the area after receiving a cross from Tanka Basnet. In the 66th minute, Khawas´ header in Tanka Basnet´s corner sailed inches above the bar. Hari Mahato also wasted a scoring chance as he failed to beat Pierre in a one-on-one position and passed it to Raju Tamang.
Sankata could have equalized in the 73rd minute, but Ritesh Khadka who was left unmarked in the area was not quick enough to collect a pass from Ibrahim Olusda which gave custodian Gana Ram Deuja ample time to clear the ball.
Army coach Yogambar Suwal said his team played under pressure against Sankata as they needed a win to keep alive their chances of advacing into the super eight. "The win has increased our chances of making it to the Super Eight round."
Suwal´s counterpart Maheshwar Mulmi said that misunderstanding between the goalkeeper and defenders cost them dear. "Our chances of qualifying for the Super Eight round are getting slimmer," said Suwal.
Sherpa Vs Jawalakhel @ 12:30 NST
Police Vs Three Star @ 14:30 NST