MMC, Machhindra in quarterfinals


Pic: Republica

Kathmandu , Jan 3:Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) and Machhindra Club secured berth in the quarterfinals from group ´C´ on Sunday, winning their respective matches, in the ongoing British Gurkha Cup Football Tournament being held at the Dasharath Stadium.

MMC edged past Maoist combatants PLA Sports Club 4-2 in the dramatic match of the day while Machhindra had a 2-1 win over ANFA U-16. PLA and ANFA U-16 crashed out from the tournament following their second consecutive defeats.

Both MMC and Machhindra have won both the matches played to collect six points each while PLA and U-16 are yet to open their accounts in the points table with one group match in hand.

In the competitive match, PLA team trailing by one goal following Pinkur Tamang´s early goal in the eighth minute made a dramatic comeback to lead the match 2-1 by the end of the first half. However, they failed to continue with their lead as they conceded three goals in the second half to lose 4-2 to the four-time league winners MMC.

Utilizing a cross of Sujan Limbu after he beat PLA goalie Prakash Rai, Pinkur directed the ball toward the net from a close range to give the team an early lead. Anil Sharma leveled the scoring in the 18th minute and two minutes later Prem Lama scored another to pile more pressure on MMC.

Anil capitalized on a defensive error of MMC and beat goalie Bishal Shrestha who was standing far from the post. Likewise, Prem struck from the box to double the lead in a brilliant cross supplied by Anil.

MMC with an effort to save their nose against the debutants PLA in the first division level tournament leveled the scoring in the 63rd minute following a superb header by Shiva Shrestha in a corner delivered by Jagjeet Shrestha.

Two minutes later Sujan Limbu scored the third from box for MMC and Jagjeet sealed the victory for the team in the 71st minute. Jagjeet´s grass shot from about 35 yards directly entered the net after Pinkur Tamang dodged the PLA custodian.

MMC coach Tshering Lopsang said the team put up a better show than in the first match. "The team is on the way to catching tune, and we played technical games against the physically fit and dominant opponents," Tshering said, adding, "Most of the players of the team are new and young in comparison to the big names of MMC."

PLA coach Meghraj KC said the team came up with a better performance than in the previous match. He pointed out the lack of experience as the reason for the team´s loss. He, however, lauded the team´s effort of giving a tough challenge to the prestigious opponents of Nepali football.

Earlier, second half goals from Rupesh KC and Pukar Ale gave Machhindra a 2-1 win over ANFA youngsters. The consolation goal for ANFA came from Machhindra defender Rohit Chand as he headed the ball into his own post in a bid to divert the ball in the 66th minute.

Despite domination over U-16 in the entire match, Machhindra failed to score during the first half. Machhindra made as many as half a dozen impressive post attempts. Rupesh netted the first in the 55th minute in a rebounder off teammate Naresh Pokhrel´s header that hit the bar. Likewise, Pukar headed in Ram Sharan Dhakal´s corner kick.

ANFA coach Sunil Shrestha said the lack of good finishing was the team´s problem. "The team could not play up to my expectations," Sunil added.

Machhindra coach Narottam Shakya said that the U-19 players failed to play as expected. "However, the team came up with a better show as compared to the last match, " he said.

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