Bikarna's brace steers Army to win



KATHMANDU, March 16: Bikarna Shrestha scored a brace in Nepal Army Club´s 2-0 victory over Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT) at the Dasharath Stadium on Tuesday to add to the miseries of RCT, who are going through bad times in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division League.

In another match, a lone goal from Laxmi Shrestha for Samsung Jawalakhel Youth Club gave them a 1-0 win over Boys Union Club to progress to the eighth position from the 11th spot, the relegation zone. Boys Union are in the relegation zone with five points after the completion of the seventh match of the first league round.

With the victory, Army moved into the fifth spot from seventh while RCT, who are expected to put up a tough challenge, are unable to win in their last five outings. RCT, who began the league with a high morale after lifting the Budhasubba Gold Cup in Dharan a week prior to the league, are just above the relegation zone with five points.

Bikarna Shrestha scored in the 26th and 62nd minutes for the army, who dominated the entire match against RCT. Shrestha beat the goalie on both occasions to score from the box to register four goals in his personal account. Shrestha scored the first goal in his solo effort, and for the second he utilized a pass from Bishwa Bairag Samal beating the offside trap.

Army squandered as many as half a dozen other good chances of adding goals. In the first half, scorer Shrestha missed a one-on-one with goalie Dilip Chhetri. Likewise, Shiva Chaudhary´s powerful shot was denied by goalie Chhetri.

RCT could make only one impressive attack, but Army custodian and skipper Bikash Malla remained the obstacle on their way as he denied Deepak Rai´s superb 20-yard strike.

Army coach Raju Kaji Shakya said his side played well and expressed satisfaction over his team´s performance.

Earlier, in a drab affair, Laxmi Shrestha scored the decider for Jawalakhel in the 28th minute against Boys Union. He scored from close range utilizing a rebound. Boys Union custodian Binay Shrestha saved a powerful strike off Raj Paudel but Laxmi Shrestha scored on the rebound.

Jawalakhel failed to score on other four occasions as well while Boys Union, who came up with an improved performance after the arrival of new coach Kumar Katwal from their fourth match, failed to put up an impressive show. They created more chances than Jawalakhel but failed to convert any opportunity.

Shekhar Limbu´s strike in the 21st minute was saved by Jawalakhel goalie Bikram Gurung. Gurung also denied Kamal Shrestha´s brilliant strike in the 67th minute. During the last moments, he made a spectacular dive to punch Pale Khadka´s shot.

Delighted with the victory, Jawalakhel coach Raja Ram Karki said that the team played as per expectations. "The team is in the process of well setting and some of the key players are on the way to recovery from their injuries," Karki added.

Boys Union coach Katwal said that there were no good supplies from the midfield and owed the loss to the absence of his defenders Bishnu Sunuwar and Amar limbu, who are injured.

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