Machhindra win; Friends share points with APF


KATHMANDU, April 18: A lone goal from Pukar Ale helped G Five Machhindra Club register a 1-0 win over Ranipokhari Corner Team on Sunday while NIBL Friends Club and Armed Police Force (APF) shared points playing a goalless draw in the Martyrs Memorial San Miguel A Division League Football Tournament at the Dasharath Stadium.

Following the results, Machhindra moved up two spots to occupy fifth position in the points table pushing RCT to sixth from fifth after the completion of the 14th round of the league. Likewise, Friends dropped one spot to seventh with 20 points and APF remained unchanged in 10th position with 12 points.

To score the decider in the 70th minute, Ale directed the ball toward the net from close range in a pass supplied by defender Rohit Chand. In the first leg, Machhindra had beaten RCT 2-1.

RCT dominated the initial stage of the first half and made a couple of impressive post attacks but failed to find the back of the net. But the latter stage of the match looked much balanced. In the fourth minute, Yogesh Gurung´s powerful strike was punched by Machhindra goalie Raju Nagarkoti.

Machhindra were unlucky in the added time of the first half as Ale´s diving header rebounded hitting the pole in a cross supplied by Amir Shrestha. In the 68th minute, Karna Limbu hit wide in a one-on-one with RCT goalie Dilip Chhetri.

Machhindra coach Meghraj KC said that his side created more opportunities than the opponents but failed to utilize them. He, however, said it was a 50/50 match and they were under pressure during the first 20 minutes of the match.

Earlier in the first match, Friends could not materialize their dream of achieving their first victory in the second leg after playing the third match against APF. Friends who had defeated APF 3-1 in the first leg have lost the previous two matches of the second leg.

During the second half, APF piled up consistent pressure and created about four good moves during the last five minutes of the match.

APF created some more chances as compared to Friends but were unable to convert them. In the 24th minute, Ganesh Lawati´s close range strike for APF went over the bar and in the 56th minute Tanku Lama´s powerful strike was brilliantly dived and punched by Friends goalie Sagar Gurung.

Nirajan Khadka´s powerful strike for Friends from the left flank was brilliantly denied by goalie Samit Rajbhandari and two minutes later Dhanbir Chaudhary of APF defended Ajad Pradhan´s close range strike from the goalline.

Friends coach Mrigendra Mishra said that they were lucky to play the draw. “Opponents created 4/5 chances during the last five minutes but failed to convert them and we were lucky to secure a point,” Mishra said, adding if his side continued with such performances it would be difficult for them to come in the top six spot.

APF manager Prem Shrestha said that they could not materialize their target of winning the match. “We failed to utilize many opportunities due to weak performance of the strikers,” Shrestha said.

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