Korean scores in MMC's win; APF, Machhindra share points


KATHMANDU, Feb 27: Korean striker for Manang Marshynagdi Club (MMC) Lee Jihoon scored the only goal to register a 1-0 win over NIBL Friends Club on Saturday in the domestic A Division League football tournament while Armed Police Force (APF) Club played a goalless draw against Machhindra Club to open their account.

After the completion of two matches of round one, Nepal Army Club, MMC, and New Road Team (NRT) are in the top three spots respectively with six points apiece but army lead the table on the basis of the number of goals scored.

With a win and a draw Machhindra have added four points to stand fifth while APF climbed to the eighth place adding one point. Friends Club are in relegation zone with no points.

For MMC, which came up with three Koreans in their starting lineup, Lee made a spectacular move in the 68th minute to score the decisive goal with his solo effort. Beating offside trap, Lee sprinted from the midfield and lashed a powerful shot to stun Friends goalie Rupak Shrestha. Lee won the man-of-the-match award.

MMC coach Chhiring Lopsang, however, said that there was no coordination between Korean and Nepali teammates. “The Koreans play in different style; two days training is not sufficient. Now they will be trained to play in Nepali style so that MMC can maintain their previous image,” said the coach of six-time league winners.

Both the teams could make few post attempts in the match. In the 57th minute Friend´s striker Nirajan Khadka´s powerful freekick shot from the edge of the box was punched by MMC goalie Bishal Shrestha.

Friends coach Mrigendra Mishra remained satisfied with the team´s performance despite the loss. “We played better than last time,” he said, adding, "Today the luck did not favor us."

In another match, despite frequent attacks both sides failed to find the back of net. Machhindra whose lineup is dominated by a number of ANFA academy players displayed technically sound performance as compared to the departmental team in the first-half. But APF came in tune in the second-half and piled pressure on their opponents.

In the seventh minute, Machhindra´s Karna Limbu squandered a one-versus-one chance with goalie Chandan Sardar as his volley went slightly wide from the pole. Karna again failed to strike in the 61st minute in an open condition from the box after beating two opponents.

Man-of-the-match Machhhindra goalie Bishal Magar´s heroic display denied APF from taking full points as he made several marvelous saves. In the 55th and 68th minutes Bishal denied Durga Raj Lawat´s powerful shot.

Machhindra coach Narottam Shakya pointed out lack of strikers in his team. “There were no good supplies from midfielders and strikers,” Shakya said.

APF coach Maheshwar Mulmi remained happy with the results as they succeeded in opening their account. “The players showed better performance as compared to the last match,” Mulmi said.

Sunday´s match has been called off due to Fagu Purnima. On Monday, Nepal Police Club will take on Ranipokhari Corner Team and Jawalakhel will play against Sankata Club.

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