After playing two matches, APF and Sankata are jointly on top of the group with four points apiece. Both of them have won one match each and played a draw in another. Likewise, NRT with a loss and a win are in the third spot with three points. Western Region are at the bottom of the table with no points.
A draw each for APF and Sankata in the next match would be sufficient for them to secure berths in the quarterfinals while NRT, which will meet Sankata, must win their match to advance into the knockout stage. However, if APF lose to Western and NRT play a draw with Sankata, then the goal difference among the top three teams will decide two teams for the knockout stage. Following their second consecutive defeat, Western Region have now crashed out of the tournament even though they are yet to play a group match.
Despite dominating the match from the beginning, the physically fit and strong APF failed to score against Sankata. APF took the ball into the danger zone several times but all was in vain as they could not score. Sankata also made a few attractive moves.
Ganesh Lawati of APF missed by a whisker in the 31st minute as he failed to convert a free kick from Jivesh Panday into a goal. APF were unlucky in the 84th minute as well, as Sankata goalie Dhan Deepak Dangol brilliantly saved a header from Dhanbir Chaudhary in a free kick of Sagar Luitel.
For Sankata, Nirajan Malla squandered a one-versus-one chance with custodian Chandan Sardar in the 36th minute. In the 55th minute, Chandan dived and saved with difficulty a grass shot of Kailesh Dangol from the edge of the box.
Sankata coach Uzol Manandhar said the team failed to utilize scoring opportunities.
APF coach Maheshwar Mulmi, dissatisfied with the results, said the performance of his forwards and mid-fielders was weak. “The forwards and midfielders lacked coordination among themselves,” Maheshwar said, adding, “The players could not play up to the expectation.”
In another match, Ranjit Shrestha and Laxman Ruchal netted a goal each as the star-studded NRT edged past Western Region 2-0.
Despite holding the match under control, NRT had to wait until the last minute of the first half to quench their thirst of opening their scoring. Ranjit scored in the 45th minute through a scorcher from the box in a pass from Khum Gurung. In another goal in the 61st minute, Khum fed a pass to Laxman who netted the ball from a close range to pile up more pressure on the regional team.
NRT dominated the match from the beginning and intensified their attacks. But Western Region could not make any remarkable attempts in the entire match.
NRT had almost found the back of the net in the 27th minute following Subash Rai´s strike but the ball rebounded after hitting the chest of a Western defender who was in the goal line. Laxman´s strike off the rebounder went above the bar.
Subash Rai failed to convert a penalty into a goal in the 34th minute as Western glovesman Amrit Chaudhary made an attractive dive to deny him. NRT were awarded penalty after Rajan Shakya took down Subash in the box. Likewise, NRT squandered a few other good opportunities in the other half too.
Amrit of Western had saved a penalty in the first match against Sankata too.
NRT coach Diken Suwal was dissatisfied despite the win and lamented the lack of strikers in the team. “We got plenty of opportunities but failed to utilize them,” Diken said. He also blamed players for not coming up with their full effort in the match.
Western Region coach Yam Gurung said that though they couldn´t play technical game against their opponents he was happy that his team of young players was able to gain experience playing under pressure with big names of Nepali football.