Machhindra suffer from dubious calls


Two controversial decisions forced Machhindra Club to share a point with Nepal Police Club in a match which ended in a goalless draw in the Martyrs’ Memorial ‘A’ Division League at the Dashrath Stadium on Sunday.

Machhindra Club had a goal ruled out for offside just after they had an appeal for handball inside the penalty box turned down. Bishal Rai had scored on 78th minute from the ball that was punched back to play by goalie Ritesh Thapa off substitute Karna Limbu’s shot but referee Bikash Mahat disallowed the goal for offside. As per the rules, a player is not offside when the ball rebounds back to play unless the player is in an offside position before it rebounds.

Immediately after the incident irate Machhindra fans tore down hoarding boards in the stands and started throwing their shreds onto the pitch. The All Nepal Football Association was late in responding to the incident and could arrange for security only after the episode had died down.

The incident took eight minutes before Machhindra were denied a penalty appeal when Pradip Baniya handled the ball inside the penalty area. The referee flagged off the decision.

Nepal Police remained in second with 15 points, while Machhindra, on 10 points, are fifth. Fuming at the dubious decisions, Machhindra coach Dhurba K.C. blamed the result on controversial calls of the referees. As for the players’ performances, he was happy with the way his youngsters performed against a strong team like Nepal Police.

Nepal Police coach Birat Krishna Shrestha, meanwhile, spoke in favour of the referees on the handball decision. Pradip’s handling of the ball was unintentional, he said, adding the referee made the right decision. He, however, did not divulge much on the offside decision saying he had not seen what had happened.

Machhindra had Brazilian Daniel Sores Neves in their squad but he could not do much to help Machhindra overcome their opponents. Dhurba K.C. said he was jet-lagged and would gel with the Nepali players in the next matches.

Later in the day, Friends Club moved two places up to third following their come from behind 3-1 win over Armed Police Club (APF), who dropped down one place to eighth with seven points.

APF took a shock lead eight minutes into the game when Tanku Lama’s wayward effort from the right flank deflected off Deepak Thapa while he was trying to clear it from the six-yard box.

Friends were back in the game 13 minutes later from a goal that was equally unfancied. Pukar Ghatraj’s tame effort from outside the penalty box slipped off goalie Rupak Shrestha’s hands after bouncing in front of him.

Azad Pradhan doubled the lead scoring from close range while Bharat Khawas sealed the win on 72nd minute from a penalty. Goal bound Khawas was fouled inside the six-yard box by Sudeep Shrestha.

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